Eat, Pray, Love… Anywhere (and Everywhere)
Eat, Pray, Love is the about-to-be-released film where Julia Roberts portrays Liz Gilbert, a woman who has recently suffered a long, arduous divorce. In an effort to overcome her past and chart a new direction in her life, she travels around the world, trying new things, throwing out conventional wisdom, and generally living a fantasy life of freedom, fun, and food.
The movie centers around her (mis)adventures as she sheds her old self, gains new perspective, and eats a lot of carbs. (Delicious, delicious carbs.) Still, like the book of the same name, Eat, Pray, Love offers a tantalizingly provocative alternative to the humdrum of existence that so many of us feel as we live our lives chasing the American dream.
Now, let’s face it, by any other name Eat, Pray, Love is a chick flick. Because of the culinary nature of its title, it is probably one I would have gotten around to seeing. (I mean, I am the guy who cried during No Reservations, but that was different… I had something in my eye… really.) Besides, I have willingly seen enough Katherine Heigl moves that I should have no issue watching Julia Roberts on a screen since she is both beautiful and talented (zing!). Still, Eat, Pray, Love got bumped up on the priority list because I am going to be a compensated panelist on Monday (read about the Eat, Pray, Love Twitter party on TravelingMom.com, you may recognize the photo since I swiped it from there…) However, because I am a panelist for the movie, it also means I had to watch it with a critical eye, from which I drew a very strong conclusion: the message behind Eat, Pray, Love is both very positive, but potentially destructive.
Let’s Start with the Good in Eat, Pray, Love
Ultimately, most people are going to come to a point where they look at their lives and feel like they are, at best, stuck in a rut and, at worst, in a bad place. Sometimes these feelings can be chalked up to a stressful week, the holidays, the natural ebb and flow that is part of any relationship, a major life event, etc., but the feelings pass. Other times, these feelings stem from a real need for the person to change.
The positive message behind Eat, Pray, Love is that you can change. The movie brings with it a sense of empowerment that comes from knowing that you can break free of your rut.
That’s good. The worst feeling in the world is hopelessness.
The Less Than Good Part In Eat, Pray, Love
I, personally, have two reservations about Ms. Gilbert’s method for breaking out of her rut. The first is a pair of people sleeping two rooms over. The second is a whole lot of things which aren’t currently sleeping in my bank account.
Sadly, a total fugue is not a possibility for me either fiscally or relationshipwise. If I disappeared for a year, I would come back to a foreclosed home and my own painful divorce. I find neither of these outcomes particularly desirable, even though Mrs. WellDone has a cold right now and is a bit on the extremely cranky side.
Eat, Pray, Love The Gudiebook, Not the Map
However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The true message behind Eat, Pray, Love isn’t to fly to India, it’s to find yourself. That is something that can happen anywhere and everywhere.
Although, one place where Ms. Gilbert got it right was that sometimes you have to get away. You can’t break out of your rut without change.
How do you break away? Ms. Gilbert got that right, too. A good way is travel.
Take a Trip Somewhere Fun, Not the Poor House
Now, travel normally brings to mind Paris, Rome, London… places far away and prohibitively expensive. Shelve that notion right now. Travel doesn’t have to be jet setting to San Tropez, it can be a drive to some place new. It can be catching a Southwest fare to some place they fly for $99 each way (seriously, get their little ding! app…) or it can be trying out one of the deals on TravelingMoms.com. Besides, the closer you stay to home, the less chance you will run into body scans, screaming babys, passports, or custom clerks, all of which are fantastic ways to keep you firmly anchored in your stress and unable to find the you that you want.
So try this, talk it over with the people in your life and let them know that travel and breaking away from the old is important to you. Then plan a series of several day trips (3 is good, more is better) and schedule them as near to each other as you can. Mix those adventures by checking off a few things on your list of local places you’ve always wanted to see or do.
The Most Important Thing is the Change in You
Sure, it won’t be the totally immersive trip into sheer freedom Liz Gilbert got, but it’s pretty close. And if you can, keep a journal or make some notes along the way. I bet just getting away will be the remedy to either break you out of the funk or give you the perspective to figure out what to do next.
Also, no matter what you decide to do, push the envelope. Try new things: new foods, new drinks, bungie jumping, making out in the backseat of a car, etc. Ultimately, it is doing something fresh and new that changes you, not where you do it.
Lastly, eat lots of carbs. I know Julia is eating ice cream on the cover of the movie, but I gotta tell you there’s something about pasta that’s good for the soul. Meatballs, too.
Really lastly, come to the Twitter party on Nov. 22, 9-10 pm ET (8-9 pm CT; 7-8 pm MT; 6-7 pm PT). Look for the hashtags #TMOM #EPLDVD or use TweetGrid: http://bit.ly/aZEx2N