Monday, February 2, 2009

an unused life

photo source unknown

This morning while I was in the shower, I kept thinking about my birthday weekend. You know, quite often, it sucks - but that's due to timing and money and usually I don't mind, although there have been a few times I have wondered what my life was coming to.

This past Saturday Bill and I had had plans to attend a one woman play called Shirley Valentine, which was adapted into a movie in 1989, and has been a favourite of mine since I caught it on late night TV in the early nineties. I bought in on VHS first, then later on DVD, and when I saw that the play was local and the tickets were only $12, I really wanted to go.

On Friday afternoon, there was still hope that Bill could take me, but by Friday evening he knew that he'd be lucky to make it home by Sunday night and I had to decide what I was going to do. I thought, why not go by yourself? Bill might have liked it, but you're the one that really wants to see it. So I got ready, and after I dropped Em off at her sleepover, I drove down to the venue.

This is where my birthday took a nice turn. I was hoping the venue would accept debit, but they didn't, and when the older lady asked if I had a cheque I knew I might have to leave to get some cash, but didn't really want to because I'd miss the first half hour. In the first few seconds, when I was thinking I might not be able to see this play, the lady says, you know, I have been saving a ticket for someone who hasn't arrived, and I doubt they will. You can have it. We're sitting along the back, if you don't mind...

She was so kind. I said my thanks and told her it was my birthday, and she beamed and showed me where to sit. During the intermission we chatted about the movie, and she brought me a bottle of water and some munchies. I really enjoyed the whole thing, but there is one passage in the play (and the movie) that gets to me every single time. If you've seen it, you'll know how pivotal it really is. I think of it as an unused life, and it's the scene where Shirley finally decides (after going back and forth, back and forth) that she will accept the offer of a free trip to Greece with her best mate Jane. Here's the scene:

"I have led such a little life, I have allowed myself to lead this little life when inside there is so much more. And it has all gone unused, and now it never will be. Why do we get all these feelings and dreams and hopes if we don't ever use them? That is how Shirley Valentine disappeared, she got lost in all this unused life."

It was so profound, and made me cherish this life I've led. I might have been a waitress or a retail manager, a mother, and a wife, and I might have had some hard times and spent some time just being, but I haven't allowed myself to disappear.

Anyway, when the lights finally went up, my heart was full and I followed the little older lady out into the foyer. As I shook her hand and thanked her, she wished me a good year.

So far, so good.


  1. I love that movie, and what a special birthday that evening turned out to be. Yes, wishing you a good year...

    from Teri and the cats of Furrydance

  2. aww that was really sweet of her to do that and I am so glad you got to go and have a good time:)

  3. Oh Kate! It was such a joy reading this entry!

    My eyes have tears in them.

    You had the best birthday!

    It was a meant to be thing that you went to that show alone, but then you were'nt really alone...:)

    ((hugs)) and thanks for sharing this wonderful, heart warming story.

  4. Good you enjoyed yourself.

    seeing water like that upsets me. We aren't taking a trip anywhere exotic this year. I can't justify the expense really.

    We just sit on our cash and work like everyone else.

    I have rental properties, my wife works as a Nurse Practitioner twice a week and as a professor once a week while going to school part time.

    She told me we need to resurrect date night. I agree.

    Life has been full of hard work and not much joy lately. I am so glad I have her in my life.


    love you Kate....


  5. I agree with Judy.. the day was meant to be the way it turned out... fate works weird ways some times. {hugs}

  6. I had tears in my eyes too and am so glad you got to see it. Have a good week Kate.

  7. wow! how nice! There are a few nice ones out there yet.

  8. That is a nice story - such a change from some of the nonsense one hears on the News - glad your Year started well

  9. Oh happy birthday, Kate! (And you look fantastic!) :)

    I'll have to watch out for this play.

  10. What a special wonderful birthday treat. So glad you decided to go on your own!!! Of course your birthday with Bill would have been special but I think you will somehow remember this one with clarity for a long time to come.

    Here's to you and your never allowing yourself to disappear.

  11. while we're growing up, we've been told that we can be whatever we want to be. as we grow older, however, we come to realize that we can't be whatever we want to be. but it's these little miracles that make life worth living, isn't it? enjoyed this entry. happy belated birthday.

  12. WHat a wonderful entry Kate. It's been years and years since I've seen that movie. I think I will go rent it soon. That picture of that crystal water...Ooooh. It looks like the place where I want to be at for my honeymoon (if I ever have one) in Bora Bora.

  13. Aha, so that worked out nicely. Funny how some days events just slide together so perfectly.

  14. I take a lot of risks in my life. Sometimes life feels scary when I do but that's how I know I'm living to the fullest.

    I'm so glad the Universe smiled on you for your birthday. How lucky to have someone "just happen" to have a FREE ticket (most people would say that NEVER happens for them)! Lucky woman you are!

  15. That was so sweet of that lady. I am glad you had a nice Birthday. By the way Happy Birthday and may you have lots more and happy ones.

  16. I have seen "Shirley Valentine" the movie. It's a great thing to see on one's birthday. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm glad you had a good birthday outing, Kate.

  17. What a great experience! I love reading your entries, and this one is definitely something that I needed to read! I have come close, but never let myself disappear completely. Its a truly scary thought. I have never seen the movie, but I think I will have to get it this weekend.

    An unused

    Thanks, Kate!

  18. I can finally comment, yay! :-)

    This post made me get teary-eyed. That is so sweat of the lady to do that!!! It was just meant to happen that way. The play/movie sounds really good!!! I am glad you had a nice Birthday despite Bill not being able to join you.

    Happy Late Birthday!!!!

  19. *I meant to say sweet instead of sweat- fat fingers. Lol.

  20. The more I read your blog the more I love it. This is such a real and lovely post. Thank You. Glad the birthday was a special one. They all are we both know.