Thursday, October 2, 2014

Share. Relate. Connect.

“We're a pack of strays, don't you get it?” So says Steve Zissou himself in the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Wes Anderson movies are routinely populated with strays and misfits. And in every instance they seek the same thing: connection. This is no less true for the three brothers in The Darjeerling Limited. Francis, Jack, and Peter reunite a year after the death of their father, and they seek connection with each other and their parents, including the dead one.

Then end result of this post is that I will talk about one component of my relationship philosophy by sharing what I once used to include in my online dating profiles (back when I was participating), which is:  Share. Relate Connect.

How have I arrived at this post? Let’s take a look.

I was watching The Darjeerling Limited. The three brothers seek to re-connect, or perhaps to truly connect for the first time. Their parents are remote and distant, even when they are physically near (I am jumping to conclusions on the father). This reminded me in some ways of my own family, which made me sad.

I thought, “I am going to breakdown this movie, find all the themes related to connection and blog something.” But what I wrote was dry and impersonal. Then there were several iterations, none of which felt satisfactory. Contrast and compare different Wes Anderson movies. Get into my family history. Reveal to much nitty-gritty of my own history.

After watching the movie The Skeleton Twins with my son I was reminded of something I have previously told my kids (numerous times, I thought), and hoped he would remember. He did not. I asked, “if you have to define in one word what “relationship” means, what word would you choose?” The answer is: Sharing.

Then I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, which does not follow the common themes of most Wes Anderson movies. But, as in just about any movie or story ever, there are elements of connection. But it got me thinking about it in a more general way. Finally, I was driving to work and I thought about the old online dating tagline: Share. Relate. Connect.

A relationship is simply sharing. You share your time, share your thoughts, share your feelings, and in a romantic relationship you share your body, too. Relationships begin and continue to thrive because both participants share. Relationships fail simply because one, or both, cease to share.

The crux of any lasting relationship is shared experiences. You can share information and feelings all you want, but true meaning derives from spending time together and doing things together. And so, at some point in the past while mulling over what to put into an online dating profile I thought up:  Share. Relate. Connect.

Share yourself and do things together.
Relate to what the other shares and does.
Connect because you both enjoy.

So, let us return to the beginning. The Darjeerling Limited. As the brothers reunite they agree to go on a spiritual journey together, to accompany their train ride across India. Yet, they continue to keep secrets, and to play one brother off the other. They are not sharing. They continue on together, doing activities together. The secrets are exposed. They settle conflicts and disagreements. They stick together. Through mutual hardships and experiences the brothers finally begin to share. They relate. They connect.

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