A little while back I was at the gym, and I cranked up Marley & Me on my iPod while I attempted to elliptical my fat butt off. I’d never seen the movie, and had always just assumed that it was a movie for kids. A friend had alluded to a different reality and suggested I watch it, so I downloaded it and loaded ‘er up. Just to warn you, today’s post may spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.
Despite my best efforts not to, by the end of the movie I was crying like a little girl (which certainly didn’t help my efforts not to look like a complete idiot). Not because Marley died, but because it made me come to a very important realization that has seemed to slip away somewhat since the girls split.
The movie did a fantastic job of showing how life happens, and how it happens in a hurry. Grogan (played by Owen Wilson) continually has fun and exciting opportunities thrown his way, but his relationship with his wife, unexpected pregnancies, and changes at work keep getting in the way of what he thinks he wants to do with his life. Throughout the movie, it parallels Grogan with his best friend who chose to live the bachelor life, and how that decision affected them both over the years. In the end, John and Jennifer (Grogan’s wife, played by Jennifer Anniston) were just… happy. Life wasn’t perfect. They weren’t where either one of them ever thought they would end up. Yet, they were satisfied and strangely content. And, in my humble opinion, the movie did an excellent job of showing how two people can truly love each other, even after everything life finds to throw their way. It’s a kind of love that can’t exist until two people have been through hell together. It’s a truly beautiful love.
So, as I sat there blubbering at the gym, I had to ask myself why. Eh, who am I kidding. I knew why. It was because I realized that I want that. It’s what I’ve always wanted. A family. A house full of kids. A beautiful woman who loves me as much as I love her, even though we sometimes fight and sometimes we can’t stand each other. A dog. A house that becomes a home because of the events in life that landed us there. Success that is measured by so much more than money.
That’s what I want.
As I get further and deeper into bachelorhood, and as the failure of past relationship looms, that vision starts to slip away. I start to tell myself that I’ll be okay being alone forever. I start to tell myself that I don’t need anybody or anything else. Noah is my life, and that’s good enough. But after watching Marley & Me, I realize that that’s loser talk. That’s the talk of a defeated man giving up on his dreams. Dreams that I’ve had for a lot longer than the past year.
And since when did I start giving up on my dreams?
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing