About 2 weeks ago my sister and I had the opportunity to watch this movie that she had strongly recommended for me to watch some time before. Even though I was tired, it was a movie night well needed. It also became a sister hair night as we stayed up way past hours to do each other’s hair, while we watched this movie. At first I was a bit skeptical about the movie, but she promised it was worth watching and indeed it was. I don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but I would be remised not to mention the many lessons that I have learned from this movie, lessons that have changed my outlook on life for the better.
It’s not a coincidence that I was able to watch this movie at a pivotal point in time, as I was about to turn a year older. As I start this ‘New Year’ of life, the lessons from this movie has opened my understanding of people and validated the kind of person I want to be. I would like to share them with you all.
This movie is an old movie that came out sometime last year, so if you haven’t seen it already I would encourage you to go and check it out– it’s called, “Me Before You”.
In a nutshell, this movie is about a young woman named Louisa Clark who seems to be leading a boring life. She hasn’t had much work experience and she was just “working” to make money. The shop that she was employed at for the last 6 years was being closed down and as a result she was laid off from her job. Loiusa was in desperate need of another job to help support her family, who heavily relied on her income. The job that she came upon was not one that she was used to completing. Louisa was accustomed to working in a coffee shop, where her knack was talking to people. Louisa was very chatty as described by the movie, and so working in the coffee shop was a natural for her. If that shop had not closed down, she would have probably spent the rest of her life working there; not really aspiring to much as she seemed to have settled there.
Nonetheless, Louisa took on the job of caring for a young man named William Traynor (Will), who became a quadriplegic from a motorcycle accident when he was hit while crossing the street. This man was someone who would have been considered to have lived life. He traveled the world, he was rich, and he could have had any girl that he wanted. Being in this quadriplegic state was demoralizing for him and therefore, Louisa was hired to keep him company and cheer him up.
The movie discloses that Louisa is in a relationship with her boyfriend Patrick for about 7 years, but their relationship seemed a bit stale if you ask me. It almost seems as if she was in the relationship, because they had been together for so long, and not because he was truly the one for her. It seemed to me that he was more of a stumbling block in her life than someone who would propel her farther. In my opinion she also settled in her relationship with Patrick.
The movie goes on to show how the development of Louisa’s and William’s relationship flourishes and how Louisa sought to help Will realize there was more to life even though he was a quadriplegic. She tried to help him see that he could enjoy life in this state. However, regardless of the fun he had with her, he knew that he did not want to spend the rest of his life like in his current state. He therefore opted to euthanize himself.
This movie is heart touching, heartbreaking, and just a plain out eye-opener. It will bring you to tears as I was bawling like a baby after watching this movie. But, as I reflected on the movie for several days I realized that there were some key points that I could apply to my life.
Lesson#1: Never settle
We should never be in a position of complacency!! We must always have a mindset of doing what we do better and better.
Throughout the movie, it is apparent that Louisa had somewhat settled. She had no aspirations, and no desire to become something better. Her family frequently called her “stupid “, probably jokingly with some truth behind it. She even settled in her relationship that had become stagnant and rote.
We need to set high expectations for ourselves. We need to dream big! Shoot for the stars, and climb those mountains. Regardless of your current circumstances, it’s never too late to strive for greater. It may be difficult to change some of those debilitating habits, but if you want change and growth, it’s definitely in your reach.
Within my family, I was determined not to settle. I wasn’t dealt a prestigious deck of cards for my life; as a matter of fact, my childhood circumstances dictated that I should have been a failure. (Grew up in a broken home, being abused at a young age, and having limited exposure to greatness). Regardless of the direction my ship seemed to be heading, I sought to turn that wheel with all my might. Here I stand today, being a college graduate, holding 3 degrees, and leading a life total opposite of what was projected based upon my circumstances.
Lesson # 2: Self happiness stems from making someone else happy
Within the movie, Louisa did not seem to be as happy. This is probably true because she was constantly compared to her sister who allegedly had all the brains. It was not until she began to care for Will that she seemed to brighten up. She found purpose for herself in her quest to help Will find meaning in his life–and in making him happy, she started to find her own happiness.
If you want to be happy, you have to be selfless; looking out for others and helping others. I know this may not make sense to some, but it’s true. I realize that my happiest moments in life are when I care for my children and see the joyful glee appear across their faces; when I willingly agree to watch my friend’s/sisters children even though I have 4 of my own; when I sacrifice to help someone else in need–these moments make me happy.
This past week my family went away to the Poconos. While we were there we visited the YMCA. While filling out paper work, there was a young, teenage Caucasian boy who needed to pay $5, so that he could utilize the gym for basketball. Being that I was filling out a membership form, he had to wait until I was done so that the receptionist could charge his card for the fee. She asked him if he was paying with cash as that would expedite the process. However, he did not have cash. While filling out paper work I instantly stopped and in a reflexive manner, I opened my wallet and pulled out a crisp $5 bill and handed it to him. He looked a bit stooped and wondered why I was paying for him; what’s the catch? The receptionist followed up by saying, “There are still good people in this world.” The boy smiled, said thank you and walked in as I continued to fill out the paperwork.
That moment made me so happy!
Lesson#3: You can’t change people, but you love them anyway
Once Louisa learned that Will felt hopeless with his life, she tried her hardest to change his mind. I mean she really tried, but Will had his mind made up. He no longer found purpose in his life as a quadriplegic. As disheartening as this was, Louisa had to learn to accept it, and still give 100% to her job and to also fulfill her purpose in his life.
This reminded me of the serenity prayer:
” God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. “
In life, we may not always agree with people on the same things, or feel the same way about a situation, but even in that moment we should still love.
This reminded me of a situation where some friends of mine did not like certain types of music/musical instruments being played in the church, as they felt it was unholy and irreverent. Despite our attempts to reason together, both sides explaining their case, we have agreed to disagree. This difference was significant enough to destroy relationships, but in my eyes I chose to love past the differences. I have learned to accept people as they are and even though I do want them to see through Candace’s lens, I understand it may never be so, and it’s ok. I love anyway!!!
I want to encourage you today to love people even when they aren’t changing to what you deem as right. At the end of the day, people have the right to choose and believe as they would like. We just have to love. The definition of “love ” will vary from person to person…regardless…love.
Lesson#4: Even though life may throw you a curve ball that changes your life, IT IS NOT THE END!
Before his accident, Will was a successful businessman in England. He was the kind of guy that women would throw themselves at. He had fame, money, good looks, and was just outright successful. His accident completely changed his life. He was no longer an independent, free-spirited man who could do as he liked. He became trapped, unable to do anything for himself. He lost all hope and in his mind he was a living dead man, as he could no longer live the life he once knew. Louisa tried to get him to realize that his life was still worth living. He unfortunately did not bite her bait, However, I want to encourage you today, that regardless of the detours in your life… it’s not the end.
Our lives may not always go the way that we planned for it to go.
You may have experienced the death of a loved one, you may have been laid off from a job and you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you may have lost your home to a fire, or foreclosure…IT’S NOT THE END!
You may have miscarried a child, you or a family member may have been diagnosed with a life changing disease, and everything as you knew it could have changed for the worst… IT’S NOT THE END!!!
When those unexpected events happen, that throw us off life’s course, I want to encourage you to grieve…yes grieve, but it doesn’t end there. There will be sunshine and a beautiful rainbow after the storm… one that promises hope and an expected future. Don’t “end your life”, but continue to live, blossom and grow. You may have a limp in your side from the battle you faced, but you press forward limping along and living strong!!
Greatness is destined for your life!!!!
The title of this movie, “Me Before You” can mean so many different things to so many people. As I thought about the movie and pondered on the title, I applied it to myself. I feel that the Me ( Candace) before You ( All of the people and situations in my life) were so different. I never would have been who I am today, if it had not been for the situations I faced, and the people I met.
I have grown up into a better woman because of “You”.
Life is full of so much. Live, love, and appreciate all the opportunities that allow you to grow and be a better you!
~ Candace Mezetin