The Hobbit Movie and My Own Journey

Yesterday, Alex (my older daughter) and I went to see The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. It might seem like a strange activity for a 48 year old dad and his 19 year old daughter, but our "journey" with all things Middle Earth has been a truly memorable 10 year experience. It's also taught me much about how one can judge the quality of a day, year, or even a lifetime.

As the movie ended and the credits began to roll, hardly anyone, including Alex and I, got up to leave. We watched every slide with it's masterful drawings, and occasionally commented on who played one role or another. Finally, when the credits for the thousands of other people began to show on the screen, we slowly rose to our feet and exited the theater. Why was it so hard for me to leave? It's not like I couldn't watch it again in a few months when we purchased the movie on DVD. What was it that made me so hesitant to leave?

It wasn’t the movie series, but what the movie series gave Alex and I the opportunity to do.

While walking to the car, I commented to Alex about my strange pause back at the theater and she said, "Yeah, it's like that as long as we didn't exit the theater, the movie wasn't over and we could still hold onto the moment." It was then that it hit me. My lingering was due to realizing that this 10 year journey with Alex was ending. No longer would we have the excitement of talking about the next movie, or planning when we would go see it together. No more pondering conversations wondering about how Peter Jackson would complete one story line and then start another one. It wasn't the movie series, but what the movie series gave Alex and I the opportunity to do. It was a catalyst to creating a lifetime of memories.

With this new found realization, I started thinking about all the times in my life when I've wanted to linger in the moment because I knew they would never come again. Those moments usually came as a result of giving my full attention to an experience and working hard to achieve a successful result. Too often I've been quick to exit an event in my life because I didn't give it the attention it deserved, and the last thing I wanted to do was linger in the moment.

As I look to 2015, one of my resolutions will be to have more moments like those in the theater where I want to linger. The experiences that create these moments don't have to be epic in nature or take you on a journey with strange creatures in a distant land. They result from being fully present in all of life's experiences, and embracing them for the adventure they offer.