Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir about a year in Elizabeth Gilbert’s life following her divorce. It is a search to find herself so that she can find balance in her life. This balance will open up for Ms. Gilbert peace, happiness, joy, and freedom.
At the time Eat, Pray, Love was published, my life was filled with working 9-3 daily while the kids were in school, cooking elaborate dinners almost daily, caring for the kids, entertaining regularly in my home, saying yes to every volunteer request received, socializing regularly on weekends, and more. My life leading up to my separation was so filled with activities that I had not a moment to spare. This allowed me to avoid reflection. I was constantly tired, unhappy, and stressed.
Recently I picked up my copy of Eat, Pray, Love. I decided, with the movie released in theaters, that it would be a good idea to re-read the book. I wondered if I would gain insight from a different perspective as I am nearing my divorce with my 20 year anniversary days away. I noticed that I had turned down pages containing important passages to me; content I wanted to turn to again for guidance and inspiration. I realize now how desperately I was in search of balance in my life. I was on a quest to grab on to what Ms. Gilbert was discovering as she took a year to travel to Italy, India, and Bali. Ms. Gilbert’s memoir, her journey to self-discovery, was my how-to guide 4 years ago.
Flipping through the book and recognizing where I was in my life four years ago and realizing I am on my own journey now, I knew seeing the movie on my anniversary was essential. So, I called AC to ask her if she would go out to dinner and a movie. AC asked, “Are you sure you want to see a movie about a marriage ending on your twenty year anniversary Kelly?” I disagreed with AC.
Eat, Pray, Love is not about a marriage ending; it is about a life beginning.
Yes, this is what I wanted to do on August 24th this year. I wanted nothing more than to be absorbed by Elizabeth Gilbert’s year-long journey around the world to discover herself. I wanted to enjoy a great meal with AC , have a good conversation, and celebrate our friendship. I also wanted to spend the evening watching a woman rebound in life after a messy divorce.
As I re-read Eat, Pray, Love, I have a fresh perspective and it is helping me in a different way this time. The pages turned down are still meaningful to me and now, four years later, new pages are being turned down for future guidance. The story resonates in a new way as my life has changed drastically.
In the book Ms. Gilbert describes her thought on the balance between fate and free will.
“Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he’s a little of both…I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in life–whether I will see them as curses or opportunities (and on the occasions when I can’t rise to the most optimistic viewpoint, because I’m feeling too damn sorry for myself, I can choose to keep trying to change my outlook). I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”
Yes, we all make choices in life and, as I wrote on Monday, I can choose to endure or enjoy my 20 year anniversary.
I chose to enjoy it.
And, Eat, Pray, Love could be viewed as a memoir about the end of a marriage, but I choose to believe it is about the beginning of a life.