Friday, January 2, 2009

Marley and Me

I'm going to tell you a secret... I hate dogs. I know, I know... Join the masses in glaring with disgust and tisking at me for being so inhumane. Seriously though, I'm someone who enjoys their clean quiet living environment and has no desire for constant companionship. This is right about where some of you are probably going to get all Dr. Phil on me because this same sentiment clearly carries over into my lack of desire for a ball and chain followed by my very own pack of snotty nosed minions. But I promise you'd rather me acknowledge this now prior to adopting an animal.. or a family.. rather than once I'm all in. 

This evening Christopher and I saw "Marley and Me." I'm not going to lie, it was decent for a family-oriented, animal-loving, heart-warming movie.. Although I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the theatre full of tearful sniffles throughout the entire second half of the film. The main characters were a couple of hopeful writers, fresh out of college, who got married and moved to Miami to work newspaper jobs. One of the larger themes of the film was the husband's sacrificing of his journalistic passions for the sake of having a family. I'm fairly certain that the directors intended for audiences to applaud this man's accepting of his "reality." I pitied him. Sure he realized that he was an exceptional columnist; sure his dog from hell turned out to be an acquired taste; sure he and his wife were able to adapt as they transitioned into suburban parenthood. But all I kept thinking was "Damn.. Your best friend is freelancing global conflict stories for the New York Times and you're penning comical antidotes about how this week your dog ate your cell phone."

Walking out of the theatre, Christopher looked at me and said, "Someday when you get your first dog you'll understand." That's the same thing my mom tells me about having my first child. Apparently when they're yours they don't smell as bad? Who knows. All I do know is that movie didn't inspire me to put aside my own journalistic passions for the sake of domesticity, and it didn't get me all too psyched about finally adopting a furry little friend either. The only tears that movie drew out of me were alone in the car on my way home wondering if I was going to spend so much time trying to fulfill my passions that eventually I'd look back through my failure and wish I'd settled. Wishing you'd settled must be worst than settling in the first place. Then again knowing you're settling and wondering "what if" may be even more shameful yet. At the risk of sounding cliche, I suppose the best thing anyone in such a predicament can do is follow their gut and trust that persistence pays off.