Like so many other kids of the 80s, my big brother and I grew up completely obsessed with one special series of movies. In our house, when we talked about “The Trilogy,” we weren’t referring to Star Wars.
We were talking about Marty McFly.
Back to the Future, I, II, and III are hands down, my favorite movies of all time.
I can’t speak for my big brother on that one, but I will say this; he is the proud owner of his very own, shiny stainless steel DeLorean.
Growing up in our house, we listened to Huey Lewis on cassette tape and quoted all three movies anytime we could fit them into conversation. My adoration of Michael J. Fox grew with me through the years, and I watched him navigate his way through his impressive acting career with admiration.
When my husband and I showed the Trilogy to our boys for the very first time, it was a magical, nostalgic evening. Of course, they loved all three. And we loved them—again—as grown-ups as much as we loved them as kids in the 80s.
Maybe even more.
Now that I am all “grown up,” and my future has become my present; I have an even deeper admiration for the guy in that puffy red vest. Watching him overcome the challenges he faces in his everyday life from Parkinson’s disease, while continuing to act—not to mention continuing to be an amazing husband and father as well—is such an inspiration to the rest of us. If he can do all those things with Parkinson’s, and keep his amazingly positive attitude, we all ought to be able to do it, too.
Michael J. Fox spoke one simple sentence that I try to live my life by, every day:
“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” – Michael J. Fox.
Wow. Read that again. And then think for a moment about how low our acceptance is these days, in our crazy world, yet how ridiculously high our expectations are. But why is that? Does it bring us happiness to constantly worry about “keeping up”? I think it only brings us stress! And so often, disappointment, when we simply fail to meet our unrealistic expectations.
If we can consciously lower our expectations and raise our acceptance at the same time, we will ALL be happier. Simple as that.
As a mother, a wife, and a stepmother; I try to live with low expectations and high acceptance every day, even when it’s hard.
Do I dream of being “Mom of the Year” or the perfect Pinterest Mom? Sure.
But am I?
Absolutely not! Far from it, in fact! Am I happier, though, after realizing that it is an unrealistic expectation?
And as for the acceptance portion of that wise man’s statement, mine has skyrocketed over the past few years. It has simply had to. I have learned to accept a failed marriage. I have learned to accept lost friendships. I have learned to accept that I can’t have everything I want in life, when I want it. I have learned to accept that I am not in charge of the world. I have learned to accept the fact that I’m not right all the time. (That one was hard!) And most importantly, I have learned to accept that those with differing opinions, beliefs, or practices than my own are 100% entitled to them, and have no greater or less worth than I have, because of them.
But am I happier, accepting all of those truths?
I can answer that question with an equally resounding YES.
Because hey; truly, “That’s the Power of Love.” (Thanks, Huey Lewis, we love you, too.) Love your life, even with the curveballs it throws you, and love the people in it. Live with low expectations, so you can be pleasantly surprised whenever they are exceeded. Live also with a spirit of acceptance: for failures, for frustrations, and especially for those who differ from you.
Thank you, Michael J. Fox, for inspiring me every day to be the best person I can be. Thank you for giving so many people so much hope. Hope for things like self-tying sneakers and hover boards, but also hope for long lives spent successfully overcoming obstacles. And hope for a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
I implore the rest of you, on this “Back to the Future Day” of October 21st (at least to loving fans); take Michael J. Fox’s words to heart. Own them, in your life, too.
It will change you.
“The future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.” – Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd)
***Then, please take a moment, too, and check out all the hard work and progress the Michael J. Fox Foundation has accomplished in the fight to cure Parkinson’s disease. Keep up the good work Michael, the Foundation, and Team Fox!!