The Mule is a 2018 film directed, produced and starring the 88 year old Clint Eastwood. He plays an older man called Earl Stone, a horticulturist who specialises in Lily cultivars. I couldn’t help but think of my Dad, of similar age, healthy and energetic and life-long horticulturist.
But there, fortunately (!), the similarities end. Earl has a problematic relationship with his family – he’s focussed only on the Lilies and related events – and sacrifices family and family events for his passion.
Earl becomes, unwittingly a mule, running cocaine across country for a Mexican Drug cartel. Any more information and I’ll have to put a spoiler alert out, but it’s beautifully filmed, and very tense.
He’s a man without the filters of needing to prove anything which is why he’s such a successful mule.
In the end, the film is about family, time and paying attention to the relationships that matter to you. You can buy anything almost, but not time.
I wonder if the film is intended to be cathartic for Eastwood – he reportedly has eight children from several relationships – and one of his daughters plays his on-screen daughter.
A gripping, at times funny, film with a strong message and a typical Eastwood ending that isn’t feel good but kind of is.
*Time with those that matter.
It might run contrary to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but I do increasingly think that only a couple of things matter – health and family – however defined by you, come to mind.
I haven’t blogged much lately because of other priorities. I’ve been walking most mornings and evening for exercise. I blogged about one walk recently through Cornwall Park.
The benefits of walking are well known and it’s helped me in many way: working more effectively, thinking time, physical health and clothes fitting better!
Add good relationships with those that mean something to you – feels healthy and contented.
I might be overlooking Maslow in this simplistic interpretation of what’s important, which starts with physical needs (health, food) and safety, followed by belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.
My two “what matters” aren’t that high up the Hierarchy – in fact, health is a the bottom. It could be that I’ve got a fair way up Maslow’s needs and I’m heading down again.
It’s part of making life simple – walking, selling excess “things”, focussing on people that matter.
A simple life, clear, clean and focussed.
On his 80th birthday in 2009 Uncle Stan played an impressive violin piece for the guests. It was an uplifting experience. Somebody made a recording and we heard and watched it again at his funeral service last week.
Uncle Stan was one of a kind. Forever youthful in his outlook: learning, reading, discussing and playing and enjoying music all his life. He took brave steps in the seventies, changing his family’s immediate projectory and took his own course through life in many ways. He gained great respect and love.
Growing up we all had music in our family, but for some of us – especially me – it was a chore and although I still have my violin it’s not been out of its case for many years. But for Uncle Stan it was a life-long passion through orchestra, solos and sharing it with us all, just as he did at his 80th.
I was struck by the uplifting I felt at his funeral. I wondered whether this was right. Should I feel good at a funeral? Looking around on the day, I don’t think I was the only one. Of course there is grief – especially by his immediately family of course – but joy too.
Uncles Stan uplifted us at his funeral. That’s a feat of leadership.
If life has any meaning, it’s probably happiness.
Mum turned 85 recently and from a possible 39 direct descendants (which for the record includes one husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and spouses thereof) we had 26 for lunch in Christchurch. She’s a similar age to the Queen with her birthday in the same month, and we couldn’t help but notice she was sporting a real royal haircut too!
We had lunch, some gifts were given and words were said and it was back to Mum and Dad’s for a slide show put together by Dad. There’s a lot to capture in 85 years and Dad did a great job of a selection from Mum’s 80th, their 60th wedding anniversary and a top up from the last few years. We laughed and marvelled at the haircuts and the fashion, and of places been.
A great top up of happiness.
My son Thomas graduated with his Master of Science last week. The hard work for him seems to me to be long ago and it would be easy to be cynical about the graduation event – a lot of pomp and ceremony just to pick up a certificate. Like Mum’s 85th it brought family together. Great happiness and I’m pretty proud of my big boy too. Data Scientist extraordinaire.
You don’t have to accept my proposition about life’s meaning, but you sure can find some happiness in the simplicity of family, in whatever form that takes for you.
Family often get talked about, or that is my sense, in my blogs here. I wrote a blog of lessons on the first day of 2010 and when I started thinking about a blog for the last day of the year I thought I’d go back to the very beginning and see where I was at. I started 2010 thinking about happiness, authenticity, running and leading without waiting for the superhero to save or do for you.
On reflection, they were good things to start the year on and I’m going to take them through to next year. Family was big this year (is it ever not) but I had meaningful conversations with siblings, children and parents about all sorts of things and as a result family relationships definitely feel richer.
I’m going to keep connected to family and I’m going to grow my relationships with friends. I’m sure I’ve neglected some and that’s been at times when I’ve been so busy that it hasn’t felt like there is time. Somewhere in that equation, happiness fell away when it got too busy or the friendly chats stopped. I’m not sure if we drew a causal loop on that where it would start and finish, but it doesn’t matter.
I’m going to lead myself into 2011 being myself, I don’t need to mention the superhero again, but I will be mindful of friends along with my family.
That’s got to be a happy place to say happy new year!