On the surface, the movie Up in the Air has a simple plot and message about the importance of relationships in our lives. Below the surface, the movie is much more profound.
I think the movie acknowledged and reflected the difficulties and often impermanence of relationships. Yet knowing this, we humans define who we are by the relationships we develop. They act as mirrors; we see ourselves in nature of the bonds we create.
Our close relationships help us to emotionally grow if we stay engaged or to learn about ourselves if we choose to separate. And as the George Clooney character, Ryan, explained to the man with cold feet on his wedding day, it is just more fun to do things with someone else.
There was a great scene where Ryan and his lover are explaining to Ryan’s younger coworker who has just been dumped by her boyfriend how criteria for a good partner changes with age. Wisdom teaches us that kindness, a willingness to support each others plans and dreams, and a good smile should top the list. We sometimes forget this when we are looking for our financial and intellectual match.
I believe we are all in the process of redefining what is the point of our relationships. I have especially seen this in the high-achieving women I coach. We aren’t looking for caretakers; we are looking for partners. We want someone who willingly shares the responsibilities at home. We want a man who gives us space to go after the success we desire. When we come home, we want a “knight” who loves having a queen in the house and doesn’t ask us when we are going to change our goals and lifestyle. This man shows emotional depth and strength.
It took me many years to fully understand this. Today, I can gratefully say I am in one of these relationships.
Do you agree with this analysis of the purpose of relationships? Do you have a different perspective? Please post your thoughts and comments at www.burdenofgreatness.com.