Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Big Year

I don't have a tv and I've lived without cable for seven years now.  I do, however, watch a lot of movies.  I'll watch them while on the trainer, cooking, or even just while sitting around relaxing with a nice hot heat pack and a foam roller (and probably a pizza!).  I'm by far no movie buff, but I certainly have strings of movies that disappoint and then some big surprises.  Tonight, while making dinner and cleaning, I had a bit of a surprise.

The Big Year.  A 2011 comedy with Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin.  I'm a fan of Jack Black, but not always of the other two.  Still, I saw some good reviews and thought "why not?"

The movie is about birding; that is, going out to look at birds.  More specifically, it is about - as the title lends itself - what's called a Big Year - an informal competition to see how many different species of birds they can see or hear throughout the span of one year, restricted to a specific geographical area

Overall, the movie was great.  Plenty of funny lines here and there, a great story, and the way the characters play off one another was very well designed.  The big surprise came in the underlying them that I didn't expect.  

The Big Year is an informal competition.  There are no prizes.  There is no formal panel of judges.  It's each man and woman out for themselves to do the best they can.  The story takes three people of various backgrounds who strive towards a similar goal for three very different reasons.  The big shot Big Year record holding birder strives to maintain his status and does birding full time.  The wealthy business owner who is torn between his two desires in life, maintaining his wildly successful business and his life long dream of going for a Big Year.  Finally, the unsuccessful thirty-something guy who lives at home and who is reaching for a bigger-than-life goal while draining both his and his parents bank accounts.  Makes for a great bunch, huh?

Throughout the movie, you see what each character goes through in order to stay on pace with the current record.  They go through the normal bad weather, inconveniences, and such.  But they also have family issues, friends who stab them in the back, and risks they're left taking.  I won't ruin the ending for those who want to watch the movie, but it all came together when in the end, the characters reflect back.  The movie leaves you with a final question...

Was it worth it?

As always, these types of movies make you think about your own life.  First off, what is your "Big Year"? 
  1. What's your big goal this year?  
  2. And maybe more importantly, what do you have to sacrifice to get there?  
  3. Do your friends and family support you?  
  4. Does your goal put a strain on your life at home?  
  5. Is there a balance you have to find between your big goal and work?  
  6. When it comes push to shove, which side wins out?

I really do hope that everyone has a "Big Year" (their personal goal) and that their family and friends support them in pursuing it.  And I hope that we all reflect enough on what we have so that when the moment comes, we know what things are and aren't worth risking to reach that goal. I also hope that each of you recognize what your family's or friend's goals are and are just as supportive of them as you'd like them to be of you.  Here are my answers...

  1. A sub-10 hour Ironman
  2. Time, food I like, savings, vacations, nights out, visiting family, weekends, eating out, spending time with friends, any chance of a dating life, and more I'm sure...
  3. They do for now, but apart from my roommate and whoever pops into work, I don't see many people.
  4. I'm single and no one depends on me, so I'm taking advantage of that while I can.  Family visits become tough as they realize I have to fit them in around my workouts.  
  5. I'm thankful that work compliments my goal, but as with any activity, it cuts into potential workout times.
  6. I find work comes before workouts, but workouts come before most anything else (even the taxes that are still sitting on my desk).

So here are my only two questions to you...

What's your big goal this year?

What are you sacrificing to pursue it?


P.S.  I did Crossfit and a 4 mile run today.  So don't give me that "oh gosh" look when I tell you there's a half eaten roll of cookie dough in the fridge.  It was only $0.90 (on sale with a double coupon!).  You should be happy there's any left. 

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

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