The power of old movies, memories and midlife

Memories from childhood are much easier with the help of old movies.

Have you had the pleasure of watching old movies from your childhood?

I did and it was amazing.

My mom had the foresight to transfer all of the old 8mm movies to videotape in the late 80s. I lived about 500 miles away from my family, so I couldn’t watch them with my family when they were ready.

I remember how excited my sisters were to watch them with me when I returned home for the holidays. I was super excited to watch them too…but not with them; I wanted to watch alone.

I guess I had a gut feeling that it would be a powerful experience.

I waiting until about 1:00 am when everyone was asleep. I pressed play…the old fashioned way… without a remote.

My dad had taken the movies in the early 70s. He would have loved videography today.

As I watched, I was thrilled to see my grandparents in their home in New Haven, Connecticut. They had died a few years ago. Wow, even though there wasn’t sound, there they were, so life-like, moving around. There was the teal blue ottoman I used to play under, like a turtle with my shell. Amazing.

There I was! Looked like we had just moved into our house in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. I’m about 7 or 8 years old – must have been around 1970. I also see my mom and my dad and two of my four sisters. My two youngest sisters weren’t born yet.

And then, something unexpected happened.

My childhood dogs appeared on screen.

I burst into tears as soon as I saw them. Not a few tears either. A huge sob. Complete with ugly face.

Now, here I was, 2:00 AM, crying uncontrollably as I watched Mr. Jack and Roxy, the St. Bernards and Cindy, the Dachshund romping around, being their beautiful doggy selves. Mr. Jack and my father are in the picture above.

I loved every minute of seeing these faded and forgotten memories come to life…the size of the dogs (really big and really little), the young neighborhood with small trees, and my seemingly happy and “normal” childhood.

Little did I know that my life was soon to change forever with my father’s suicide in 1976. I think the difference between how I remember my childhood vs. how it appeared on film during this narrow slice of time was what surprised me the most.

I was thankful to have been watching the home movies alone. It took me hours to recover.

Since then, my husband converted the videos to DVD for all of my family members. I can watch them now without becoming hysterical. I’m so grateful my father loved taking home movies. I’m also so grateful I have the footage to share with my kids.

I’m fascinated by this experience. Watching the movies reminded me how much I loved growing up with big dogs. And a year and a half ago, after 20 years of loving Golden Retrievers, we switched things up and welcomed Niko, the Landseer Newfoundland, into the family. We wanted a dog that loved water and was a strong swimmer, so a Newf was perfect, both for lifestyle as well as happy childhood memories.

One of my previous blogs was about how finding your passion may quite possibly be right under your nose, because the things that attracted us and held our interest when we were kids are most likely the things that turn us on today. If not the same exact thing, it’s probably something similar.

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Suzy and Niko the Newf, 2015

And this is what has happened with me. At 51 years old, I finally have a big dog as part of the family again. The fit is like the warmth and comfort of an old glove…covered in slobber and dog hair of course. It’s so important to really think about what brings you joy. In fact, as I write this blog, I’m sitting and watching our dog Niko learn water rescue skills at a two-day training event. Niko is learning quickly and having a blast.

Midlife is a perfect time to think about what made you happy and brought you comfort as a kid. Chances are that other than becoming older and wiser, you haven’t changed that much at all in the last few decades.

My life coaching practice is all about “midlife unplugged.” This is my expression for turning that feeling of midlife crisis and negativity around to opportunity and joy. Unplug the stigma, access those memories, take the time to dream and take action to live the life you won’t regret living. You may want to check out my FREE download which is loaded with tips to help you regret-proof your life. Click here: www.suzyrosenstein.com/dreamigniter.

 

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