Hiatus, explained

8 Feb

So … you may have noticed I seem to have stopped writing about movies. The truth is, I stopped watching them for a while. And it wasn’t because I was no longer interested in cinema — new or old — or that I just was too busy or that I couldn’t be bothered.

It wasn’t so much a health scare as a health awakening. There was a doctor’s visit and some things said — fairly upsetting things from my point of view — and I was lying in my bed one night unable to sleep, worried that the stress of my job was going to trigger a heart attack or something. … And I’m only 30. My life needed a major overhaul. When I woke up the next day, I turned my focus inward for the first time in too long a time, and I started addressing the areas of my life that had to change.

What those changes partially meant, at least at first, was that I needed to focus as much of my time as possible on going about the business of actually making said changes. As anyone who has ever attempted a major life adjustment can attest to, it is a lot easier to think you want something or even say you want something than to actually do it. Both my brain and my body rebelled at first. Now they’re solidly on board with my plan.

I’m marking my fourth month of this new phase of my life. It’s wildly inaccurate to say I’ve simply being dieting and exercising. My entire life was in upheaval; it’s taken me years to be able to admit that and to start finding tactics for dealing with the chaos. Diet and exercise are helping me reach my overall physical fitness goals, but meditation, yoga and personal writing are helping me shift my viewpoint, take stock of my life, learn to be more at peace, more present, happier.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I don’t claim to be “cured,” and I don’t claim to be progressing as quickly as I’d like (when do we ever?), but I do see progress, and I’m filled with joy and — and it’s been so long since I’ve felt this way — I have hope.

And what about the movies? Well, that’s something I had to give up, and I wasn’t thrilled about it. In a lot of ways, film had become a refuge for me. I could plug my brain into a movie any time of day or night, for hours on end if I chose, and hide from everything else, everything real. I tried at first to keep watching, keep writing, and I did post a few reviews through this time period, but I soon realized that if I were to effect real, honest change, I had to be willing to let go.

So I did.

Now I feel like I’m at a place where I can begin timidly re-introducing some of those activities and things I needed to abandon back into my life. I feel I can manage balance now.

Some of the things I cut out of my life may be gone forever. But cinema is something I missed. I missed both the films and the thinking provoked by looking at them critically, reasoning out why a film affected me or didn’t, what emotions it stirred, what tangents it sent my mind on. I hope to return to reviewing in the weeks and months to come.  I may also begin including — from time to time — little essays about things films make me think about in lieu of, or in addition to, actual reviews. But I can no longer promise I’ll review every film I see, for the reasons that I’ve tried to outline above.

*The enso symbol, which I use as the art for this post, signifies many concepts in Zen Buddhist painting. When it is painted as an incomplete circle, it suggests that imperfection is a necessary and true component of existence, and therefore is necessary for balance. I like this.

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