Last night my husband and I watched a number of B rate thrillers and then Before Sunrise, that film with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, where boy meets girl on a train to Vienna and they spend a single night together. I thought it was a nice balance between masculine and feminine entertainment. And this is my theme for the new year: balance.
As you may know, this film was followed by Before Sunset, when they meet again a decade later, and most recently Before Midnight, when they are married and dealing with life in their 40s. I haven’t seen the last, but I want to. I have only seen Before Sunset once, and this was perhaps the third time for Before Sunrise. It left me feeling good.
As a woman in my mid-thirties, without children, with creative ambitions, somewhat stalled, mired in desire, self-doubt, and a hunger for change I am afraid to commit to, it is comforting for me to look back at those times. It makes me remember that always the future is before us every moment, no matter how fleeting is important to appreciate. I was struck how Delpy’s character was so open and honest with her feminine mind, both wanting to be strong and independent and at the same unafraid to show affection and ask to be kissed. She admits she will wonder who else he is sleeping with once they part, if she has sex with him, and says no, and then says yes, and then no, and then yes again. She asks, why do I have to make everything so complicated? He says, I don’t know and then kisses her. She is kind to herself and to him. She is warm. She is unsure and doesn’t worry about saying so, but she doesn’t dwell. These are all traits I wish for in myself. Now I look at the Hawke character and think he too is a bit ideal. He listens, he talks openly, he honest, he is patient, even while he is a little self-centered, a little arrogant, and a little insecure. They talk of how men and women are. They appreciate who each other is, because of course, they are only getting started. They discuss the way couples become tired of each other when that first night, that first month, that first year has turned into a drudgery of time. They understand their single night is a time out of time and yet they wish for more, but then walk away.
As the new year approaches, many are thinking of love and relationships. So, for me and for everyone, I wish for us to find that balance between the desired ideal, to embrace the traits we wish we could be to make ourselves and others feel free and pure and good, and to accept those traits that make us human, flawed and difficult, letting them be and letting them go. Because no matter where you are in your relationship cycle, the future is before you, and right now is the moment to make what you want it to be.