The 2008 film “One Week” starts with the main character, Ben Tyler, sitting across the table from his doctor, as he receives the news that he has gotten a very aggressive form of cancer and needs to immediately start an aggressive treatment. Prognosis? Not good at all.
Have you ever thought about this? What would you do in one day, one week, or one month if you are told your final day is near? In this film, Ben Tyler buys a motorcycle and rides it from Toronto to the Canadian west coast.
Before accepting life as a cancer patient, and the downsides that come with the treatment, Ben leaves his family and his fiancee behind and sets of on a self discovery voyage. Part of this discovery was his realization of how had he settled down so early in his life. As he wandered from town to town, he was getting a sampler for what he didn’t know he had been missing in life. The bliss of living in the moment was one of those discoveries. Traveling on a motorcycle was the method.
The film provokes your mind to wander so you can make your own realizations along the way. Or at least that is what happened to me. I have had these thoughts before, I’ve contemplated what the end would look like. Here is my take.
I have tried to understand life. But I have not figured it out, no one has figured it out. Philosophy, science or religion, none of them has provided plausible answers to the fundamental questions regarding life. The various religions that exist offer comfort on promises of various forms of after live. But even the people with the highest degree of faith cling to what we have here on earth, in our small corner of the Universe. Even if they say otherwise. Because the unknown remains the unknown.
In my case, not having an answer I finally come to a point when I don’t think about it anymore, except as a curiosity item. This has actually been a great and peaceful way to live life. I take every day as a bonus, an extra gift, an added value. And that realization, the now, the living of the moment, is what makes it so nice. I’m grateful for that. Maybe it explains the pleasure I get out of such simple things as in the morning, waking up and tasting that first cup of coffee while planning my day. It is worth getting out of bed for that new beginning.
I have a feeling that when I go I will be going in peace. But if I’m given the opportunity to learn of an approximate deadline, I can see myself taking a motorcycle on a long trip that could last as long as quality of life permits. It will not be taken as a regret for a ride I have not taken; it will be an opportunity for a new and different ride.
In other words, the personal lesson I take from this film is the realization that such prognosis as the one the character in this film received was an opportunity: It gave Ben Tyler an opportunity to clear the palate and start over. It may represent one more chance to wake up, change, follow forgotten dreams, and experience life at its fullest. No matter how long this last leg lasts. I don’t believe this is new or an exclusive idea generated by this film, but watching it gave me a good opportunity to express and renew these thoughts.
Two side notes:
1. Burt Munro depicted in “The World’s Fastest Indian” movie is attributed to have said: “You live more in five minutes on a bike like this than some people live in a lifetime.” He was referring to the bike he built for the world speed record on motorcycle. He justified his action on the premise that some risks are instrumental in making life worthwhile. This is slightly off the topic, but I thought it would be worth mentioning just in case someone comes along and comments that riding is a sure ticket to a faster end.
2. Regarding the motorcycle and the location of the “One Week” film: it is great to have a Norton Commando, such a great motorcycle, on a supporting role along side the beautiful views and landscapes someone can experience when traveling across these vast distances in Canada. Great choices, film director! Makes me feel like going for a ride on those places someday.
That was my take on the film, your view may be completely different. My own view may be different at a new and different point in my life.
But for now, because I don’t know when my end will be, I’m not sitting around and waiting for the inevitable; I’m riding whenever I can.
What are you doing, what makes you enjoy the moment and actualize life?
Thanks for reading.