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It just doesn’t matter.

“It just doesn’t matter”

I went on vacation last week to a Caribbean island. It was glorious. While away, I managed to find time away from the beach to watch the awesome documentary “The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man.” If you haven’t seen it yet, hop to it. What you might learn, as I did, is “It just doesn’t matter” is more than a slogan or a bromide. It’s a bona fide life philosophy.

Like many, I’m a huge fan of Bill Murray’s work. In particular, the films Stripes, Lost in Translation and Groundhog Day have a special place in my heart. To this day, the line “Don’t call me Francis” makes me laugh. And Murray’s chemistry with Scarlett in Lost in Translation is not something you see on film every day. But it’s Groundhog Day that stays with me.

Say it with me… “It just doesn’t matter!”

Groundhog Day reminds me, every time I see it, to try to atone for my inability to stay present and mindful and to keep searching for the best version of me. To let that best version out of the cage and let him roam. To let him play (that’s a sort of reference to a different, non-Bill Murray movie, Bad News Bears.) Any way you cut it, despite my love for his films, I missed connecting the dots between the man, the actor, the roles and this remarkable, wonderful way of being.

Meanwhile, Murry continues to meander in the world, showing up in random places, and inserting himself into regular people’s days and moments. He is the apparent embodiment of being present and understanding how to embrace the “It just doesn’t matter” philosophy. And me? I wonder how in the world anyone can live this way.

After finishing the film, I’ve journaled nearly daily about the idea of “It just doesn’t matter.” Rooted in stoicism, the idea of impermanence has been a constant theme in my own journey. Despite the simplicity of the idea, I can’t quite work out how to do it on a regular basis. Sure, intellectually, I get that we’re all going to be dust one day anyway. And yet emotionally I can’t seem to get over the hump.

Frankly, I am still really struggling with practicing being present. I can do it in flashes, but I seem to fail the real world test, getting caught up in this issue or that, or living somewhere in my head. This despite nearly 3 years of regular meditation and a current 50+ day streak. I refuse to give up though. I’ve found the path, I just can’t seem to stay on it for very long.

Perhaps if like in the video, I simply start chanting “It just doesn’t matter” repeatedly, I can make some of my own movie magic. I don’t’ know, but it may be worth giving it a shot. We’ll see.

One last note. Like Bill Murray himself, this blog seems to show up when it wants to, unannounced, uninvited in my life. I had decided to shut it down a while ago but never got around to it and so it languished. My hosting company alerted me to a WordPress update and some PHP errors which I couldn’t let stand. And so as fate would have it, as I fixed the site I started to re-read some of my old posts. It felt comforting somehow. I guess Bill brought me back.

Living Life To It’s Fullest Requires Mindfulness and Presence

Part of getting older now is this odd feeling of “Yep, I’ll never do that thing or this thing again, or ever for that matter.” Door feel like they are closing. And I guess that’s natural. At 46 as of this writing, I’m starting to feel scared that given the path I’m on right now, I’ll regret not doing certain things in my life. I’m not living life to it’s fullest.
When I think of having regrets like that, I say “Holy shit, I do not want to regret anything.” Given that there is still time on the clock, I don’t regret anything really. I own the choices I’ve made in my life and can live with my decisions and actions. It’s the stuff I’ve NOT done that is starting to scare me a bit.
I left home for college, got married, had kids. Lived on both coasts. Got jobs, quit jobs. Went on amazing vacations and more. All good decisions, all Carpe Diem. But it’s the things I haven’t done — the things that have truly scared me that worry me.
Like all of us, my journey has been an interesting one. But it’s not over yet. There is a lot more to do and to experience. As I’ve written on this blog, I’m experimenting and learning as fast as I can — or at least faster than I had been until somewhat recently! I do know that while the path I’m on today is better than it was a few years ago, it’s still not quite right.
But on deeper introspection over the past few days as I’ve been writing this post, I realized that this must be how life works. The figuring it out part is life – the really real actual journey. I feel like I have known this for a while but for some reason it is only now sinking in. If life were a movie (I know, it’s not!) then this would be the montage sequence where I struggle and try and fuck up and learn and grow and figure out which direction to head. My character “arc” would progress and I’d learn something new that would lead to growth and change. I feel as if I have managed to ignore a lot of the growth I should have had the past 20 years and now that I’m cognizant of it, I can pay attention to it and honor it.

So, what does it mean to live life to it’s fullest?

What I’m slowly realizing is that the destination is a by product of all that figuring stuff out — let’s call that part “Living life to it’s fullest.” It requires mindfulness and presence. Both things I struggle with. This is an entirely new way to look life for me and it’s a bit disorienting. But it is exciting and feels positive and good. I’m going with it. Because if I’m on my deathbed with regrets, that would be bad. I’d very much like to avoid that fate.