Saturday, May 19, 2012


I recently saw the movie, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL. I found it to be a charming movie with an incredible ensemble (it includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy among others and was directed by John Madden).  It tells the story of an assorted group of retirees, who appear to be in their sixties, who decide to leave England  to relocate to a hotel in India. Unfortunately the hotel doesn’t live up to its brochure description (does it ever?) and the story unfolds.
            Aside from its being charming, I thought it somewhat profound on various levels.  The basic theme of the movie is aging and the choices we make when life pulls its punches.  My late mother-in-law once told me that the only way to survive was to have the ability to go with the changes that occur in one’s life. I think she was probably better at that than I but it’s something we all need to address at some point in life.
            In old films someone in his sixties was considered to be old.  His or her life was seen as pretty much over. With the life expectancy having grown, however, that is no longer the case. Just as forty is the new thirty and fifty, the new forty, sixty is the new fifty. Wonderful, yes?  Maybe, but it begs the question, what do we choose to do with those ‘extra years’ laid out before us?
            Often the choice seems to be made for us. As in MARIGOLD HOTEL, people are thrown curve balls. Something comes up in life that they didn’t expect.  Health issues, the loss of a spouse, disintegration of one’s life’s savings. Change is inevitable. It’s how one chooses to handle those changes that matters. Of course there are the obvious ways such as denial and substance abuse. Neither of these options is a particularly viable way to live.
            There is another option:  Think outside the box.  Consider alternatives that may not have occurred to you before. Examine the ‘worst case scenario’ and see if there’s a way to turn it to your advantage (making lemonade of lemons, yes, but so what?)
            Baby boomers have always been reluctant to give up their youth (go to any rock concert featuring a group from the sixties and you’ll see fans who still feel as though they’re in their twenties). Some, turned off by the traditional retirement homes enjoyed by their parents, have come up with creative alternatives (ie. metro-condos located in the heart of a city-like area surrounded by movie theaters and restaurants, sharing homes with other adults, relocating to other countries where it is less costly to live).
            The retirees in the film embraced a life that they would never in a million years have planned on. They were only able to do this successfully by letting go of some of their preconceived notions of the way things should turn out in life.
            The autumn years of one's life can be spent passively, sitting around a coffee shop talking about the way things were and should be now or they can be spent re-creating oneself and still considering oneself in the game. The choice is ours alone.

Thanks for joining me on RHODES LESS TRAVELED, and have a great weekend.


1 comment:

  1. You're right! When it comes to aging, if you don't think outside the box, you'll end up in one.