I was channel surfing earlier today and came upon Forrest Gump playing on one of the cable networks. I haven’t seen the movie in quite a long time…since the last time it aired on TV, as the matter of fact. I actually own the movie but don’t watch it all that often. Perhaps I should! Let me explain:

As you know, Forrest Gump was an accidental everything in the movie. He became a football star because he ran fast, a war hero because he didn’t know to give up, a multi-millionaire because his shrimping boat survived (while others did not), a celebrity just because he decided to run continuously for three plus years. None of what happened to him was planned, and he treated it as such and his life as a matter of fact. But it wasn’t so much he didn’t plan; his lack of foresight and planning on the part of his life was because of his mental handicap. Despite his disability (and because of it), he accepted his life as is and was always content with whatever happened to him.

Granted the life of Forrest Gump was a bit over the top and meant to be funny and entertaining. But I think if we could learn to live more like Forrest, we would all be much happier. Instead of agonizing over being passed over for that promotion, we would count our blessings that we still have our jobs. Instead of tormenting ourselves over the missed opportunities in the past, we would focus on where we are today in spite of them. Instead of pegging our lives to an artificial schedule (get married by the time I am 30, make VP by the time I am 35, have the first million by the time I am 40, etc.), we should be grateful that we are alive and well today with many more days of living ahead of us.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating giving up planning your lives or stop aspiring to be more than we are today. Rather, I am saying perhaps we should try to also take our lives one step at a time, look at what we do have and count our blessings. Watching the movie reminded me that there are so many things for which I should be thankful — my family, my friends, my health, my job, the fact I am not homeless or hungry…the list goes on. It also prompted me to remember that I need to try to live more in the present and less in the past or the future.