The accompanying chart neatly shows the major life chapters of Forrest Gump as they chronologically took place in the movie.
Because the movie covered several decades of Forrest’s life, it is very easy to see the transition from one life chapter to another. One obvious life chapter change occurs when Forrest is in the Army gymnasium. He is diligently practicing his ping-pong. An Officer approaches Forrest and hands him his discharge papers. Forrest runs out the door while he proclaims in a voice-over, “And just like that, my service in the United States Army was over. So I went home.” The very next scene shows Forrest walking up to the family home in Greenbow. He is greeted at the front door by his mother and simply says, “I’m home, Momma.”
One life chapter ends … A new life chapter is about to begin.
Life chapters rarely have such a dramatic definitiveness. Most likely, there will only be a few times in our lifetimes that we’ll experience dramatic changes. Maybe when we move to a new city or change jobs suddenly. But those occasions are rare. Dramatic life chapter changes like Forrest experienced when he put his ping-pong paddle in his back pocket and ran out the door are special.
More often, we have thoughts of making a change, we take a few small steps in a new direction, and then we finally make a change. But the process probably has taken weeks, months, or even years. New chapters typically start while old chapters are still winding down. There is an overlap. The exact moment of change is not easily identified. It’s often the case that the perspective of time reveals our own life chapter changes more clearly.
And while Forrest neatly proceeded from only one chapter to another, we more often have multiple chapters proceeding simultaneously – all at various levels of progression. After all, we have personal relationships that constitute their own chapters while simultaneously our professional careers or jobs make up other chapters. And our jobs have projects and activities that often evolve into their own life chapters. Now let’s also include raising children, being a mom or dad, and many more chapters that are thrown in.
The reality is we all have many life chapters that all start, progress, wane, and eventually end all at the same time. Such is the journey of life.
And if life is like a journey, or if life is like a box of chocolates, then we never exactly know how each chapter is going to turn out … or what we’re gonna get.
In each of Forrest’s life chapters, he excelled by being 100% committed to the task (or chapter) at hand. He remained present. He wasted little energy worrying or thinking about what might have been. He knew how to put the past behind him. And he didn’t spend time worrying about the next chapter.
The beauty of Forrest’s approach is that much was accomplished in each life chapter. And a new chapter always appeared just like magic … at exactly the right moment.
What if you lived each day, and each chapter of your life, fully present?
Do you think it’s possible that new opportunities, and new life chapters, appear as a result of the work you’re doing in today’s chapter?
Do you believe that new life chapters arrive at exactly the right moment for the life, and chapter, that you’re currently living?
Next Blog Title: Life Chapters and Life SubChapters
Next Blog Date: February 13, 2012