Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Eve Is Real & Inclusive –– & Why Chariots Of Fire Is A Quintessential NYE Movie

New Year's Eve has gotten a bad rap for a long time. People often complain that they don't have exciting plans for the night, or grow despondent if highly anticipated plans prove lesser than they had hoped. Some feel like being alone on New Year's Eve is indicative of personal failure. It's all a matter of perspective. Just remember: In the midst of all the holidays that pass during the fall-winter season, this is the only one that is inclusive and universal. It is 'real'. New Year's Eve bears no real conflict for anyone, in truth. No politics or religious denominations. No questionable history.
Despite the fact that some parts of the world celebrate a different calendar –– and therefore a different day that signals the new year –– everyone can relate to that transition. Whether your year has been a good one, or a difficult one, (for some it may have been one they can't wait to leave behind), New Year's Eve is a day for everyone.
Whether you're surrounded by friends and family or spending the night entirely alone, it is your night. It is everyone's night. Make the most of it in any way you can. It's a night to celebrate. Or reflect. Whichever makes sense in your particular predicament.
Two years prior, we wanted to spend New Year's Eve relaxing at home. The plan was to watch a movie and play board games. By happy accident, I had a craving for one film: 'Chariots Of Fire'. That was my movie pick, so we watched it. And by 'happy accident', I mean I had no idea when I chose 'Chariots Of Fire' that I'd soon consider it the quintessential New Year's Eve/New Years' Day movie. Every aspect of life –– and what drives people in living it –– is represented in 'Chariots Of Fire'.
Lord Lindsay
Harold Abrahams
Eric Liddell
If you are like Eric Liddell, you feel a sense of purpose and you're driven in life by a power you consider greater than yourself. You are running for what you consider to be your God, whatever you aspire to. If you're like Harold Abrahams, you are running to prove something to others –– you are running because of the shear force of competition. If you're like Lord Lindsay (Burghley), you run because you are privileged enough to do so, and only because you can, which minimizes a sense of purpose in your efforts. But whichever force is driving you to be part of the race, you are in it.
The real Eric Liddell
The real Harold Abrahams
The real Lord Burghley (Lord Lindsay in 'Chariots Of Fire')
Of course, there are also those on the sidelines. There are the cheerleaders and supporters. And there are the coaches. Whichever role you most identify with, there is no denying the strength of 'Chariots Of Fire' in capturing the way we exist by way of running (or standing by to watch) our own particular heat in the game of life.
And I can attest that it is a uniquely inspiring experience to watch this movie –– one that is as unfairly and oft-derided as New Year's Eve itself –– as you transition into the new year.

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