Looking for something upbeat?
Based on the novel by French writer Francois Lelord, “Hector and the Search for Happiness” is a fitting watch for the moment, as it takes the viewer on a journey to discover what it means to be happy. Hector (Simon Pegg), a London psychiatrist struggling both personally and professionally, impulsively goes on a happiness-seeking quest, which takes him to Shanghai, the Himalayas, Africa and Los Angeles, where he makes new friends and visits some old ones (including his ex-girlfriend, played by Toni Collette).
Hector was looking to get out of a rut. He felt like a fraud. How can he tell people to be happy if he didn’t know what it means to be happy? The shrink lost sight of what really mattered, something that can happen to any of us. This crisis we’re facing, however, gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button, to reprioritize and refocus. It’s a time to ask some of those difficult questions, such as “Am I happy?” “Am I living the life I want to live?” and “What are some things I love that I have neglected?”
It’s so easy to get overrun with commitments and obligations. We can make ourselves so busy we forget what kind of life we were after in the first place. Personally, I feel like there are a lot of blessings when it comes to our current situation. There is tragedy, yes, and there is fear, but there is also discovery…and self-discovery. Now can be the time to work on that project you’ve dreamed of doing, be it writing a novel, building a deck, building a sports car or something else. It’s obviously not the time to travel, but it can be that time to finally read that book you’ve been putting off. If you’re fortunate enough to be quarantined with your family, even better: play “Scrabble” with your wife. Watch movies with the kids. I can tell you our household is grateful for Disney + and Netflix. Hulu comes in handy, too.
We all have different ideas when it comes to happiness, and far too often it eludes us, but that doesn’t have to be the case. What Hector ultimately decides is that he already has everything he needs to be happy, and I’ve arrived at a similar conclusion. Happiness lies in being present. It lies in listening to others, offering compassion and not focusing so much on yourself. Slow down, be mindful, don’t worry so much about the past or the future. As I read in “The Book of Joy,” “We must try to be conscious about how we live and not get swept away by the modern trance, the relentless march, the anxious accelerator.”
This, of course, is easier said than done. It takes practice. It takes continual reminders, but it can be done with intention. As Professor Coreman (Christopher Plummer) says in the aforementioned film, “We should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness but with the happiness of pursuit.”
(as published in the Lewistown News-Argus)