BY: ADRIAN SMITH
When I got home that night I found Kevin sitting out on the balcony, leaning back against the glass door. I didn’t go out there right away. I set my bag down first and watched him finish the last, slow draw of the cigarette he held alone with his thoughts. I don’t think I’d ever seen that guy down like that before, but I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about him, despite what he was going through. He’d eventually be alright—we always are. It made me think about this scene I watched from Lost In Translation not too long ago. In the scene, Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johansson) asks Bob Harris (played by Bill Murray) if life gets any easier as you get older. The response he gave her, “no… yes it gets easier” provoked me a bit when I heard it. And I felt sort of disappointed by the thought that life never really stops handing you challenging, stressful situations. It’s too unpredictable and uncontrollable to get any easier, and that idea left me unsettled.
“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you,” Bill Murray’s character continued. Hearing this, I understood what he meant in saying that things don’t, but do get easier. As you grow older, your understanding of the things that make you happy or unhappy, comfortable or uncomfortable, interested or bored, become clearer. Your ongoing experiences help to refine your tastes, interests and values, and you begin to understand the importance of living in agreement with yourself. It’s as simple as knowing what kind of music you enjoy listening to, what sort of stuff you like to read, or what venues you have a good time at—and continuing to seek those things out in order to stay in a positive state of mind. When you know exactly what you value in your relationships, or what sort of company you want surrounding you, you find you’re not upset or disappointed with people as often. Everyone around you elevates your being and vice versa, instead of senselessly weighing you down. You learn that you’re only able to control your reactions to the situations in front of you, and it becomes easier to withstand and resolve those problems the older you get, because you’ve faced them before. At the same time, you don’t need to worry about where you are right now and what you haven’t figured out yet. There’s enough time. You learn as you continue to try and fail being at your best. You learn more about who you are every time you find yourself distant from whoever it is you’re supposed to be.
I already knew what to say when I finally tapped on the glass, asking Kevin if I could sit with him. It was obvious. I took a cigarette out of the carton in my jacket pocket and lit it before telling him about some scene I saw from Lost in Translation.