Reporter: “What have you learned about turning 60?”
Robin Williams: “You’ve got the gig. Relax and enjoy it.”
Went to see the movie One Day last night.
My friend Matt and I were coming home after dropping my son Andrew off at BWI Airport (on his way to Burning Man).
Matt and I took one look at the stopped cars on the Beltway outside DC and thought, “We can sit in traffic for a couple hours – or we could go see a movie.”
Hmmmm – what to do, what to do?
Easy choice. Off to the movie we went.
If someone asked me to describe One Day, I would say, “It’s about the fickleness and fate of timing.
In this movie, two people meet cute at graduation. They’re on their way to a romantic roll in the hay when his parents show up early. This unexpected intervention turns these would-have-been-soul-mates into a same-day-next-year friendship.
The movie chronicles their passing years – the ups and downs as they “find themselves” and what they’re looking for (or not) – and how one becomes interested in the other, only to discover the other has other priorities at the time. Their life is a series of angst as they experience these missed connections.
My friend Mary Loverde thinks, “All life is a connection bid.”
She cites research that says that the health of most relationships can be determined by studying the success of connection bids.
Connection bids are when we reach out to another person in an attempt to establish a connection that says, “We’re one, not two.”
A connection bid can be as simple as asking, “How was your day?”
It can be as intimate as, “Want to head upstairs?” with a meaningful glance.
It can be as mundane as, “Want me to fix you another cup of coffee?”
As romantic as, “Let’s fly to Paris for a week. Remember how happy we were there on our honeymoon?”
As simple, yet loved-filled, as turning to smile at – or touch – someone in a conversation or while at a movie theater or dinner party.
If the person you’re reaching out to recognizes and responds positivity to the connection bid – that keeps you close.
If those connection bids are rejected – or worse, dismissed with contempt – that relationship is on the rocks.
Yet, at this movie One Day shows; so often, we’re so busy, so fraught with trying to find ourselves, prove ourselves; we don’t see what’s right in front of us.
We’re rushing to get somewhere, instead of seeing that where we’re trying to get is . . . right here.
It reminds me of the most poignant interview I’ve ever seen.
Journalist Rita Braver interviewed Steve Martin on CBS Sunday Morning.
Steve Martin is a genius . . . yet, based on what unfolded in this interview, he is not a very happy man.
Rita started with questions about the evolution of his career – starting when he was the #1 comedian in the world (“A wild and crazy guy” “Excuuse Mee!”). He frequently appeared on Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live and set records with the most widely-sold comedy albums of all time.
He walked away from that because he couldn’t “top himself.” The pressure of being funny all the time, every time, became too much.
He transitioned into movies (Parenthood, The Jerk, etc.) and succeeded at that.
He wrote books and plays (Shopgirl and Picasso at the Lapin Agile ), hosted the Emmys and won Grammys for his music.
Yet, the entire time, Steve was fraught with anxiety about whether his work was winning respect.
Toward the end of the interview, Rita looked at Steve almost tenderly and reached out, almost as if to reassure or comfort him, and said, “So, it’s really turned out okay, hasn’t it?”
Martin said, “If only someone had told me that 30 years ago, I could have relaxed and enjoyed it.”
The poignancy of that remark has stayed with me for years.
See, for Steve, the jury has always been out.
The pressure of trying to please has kept him in a constant state of ennui.
From the outside, he is an incredible success – #1 movies, best-selling books, Broadway plays.
Yet, in his mind, there’s been a relentless pressure to perform, prove, please. It appears he’s never stepped back to relax and enjoy the gig.
So . . . to bring this inter-connected message of One Day, Robin Williams’ insight and Steve Martin’s regret . . . home.
We’ve got the gig.
There are people in our life reaching out to us; waiting for us to reach back.
There are successes and blessings all around us, inviting us to notice them, appreciate them, revel in them.
Complete the connection bid. Reach back. Relax.
Instead of rushing to get somewhere else, succeed at something else; enjoy right here, right now.