As two weeks of playing tour guide to friends winds down, I finally have some time to sit and reflect on what’s gone on lately. It was brought to my attention that an American movie was filmed in my tiny town of Vittorio Veneto in the 1990s, so I of course had to immediately rent it on iTunes. In Love and War takes place during the First World War and documents Ernest Hemingway’s experiences as a Red Cross volunteer. Apparently, he was injured and fell in love with one of his nurses during recovery. Their relationship unfortunately did not work out ( why couldn’t the movie just pretend?! 😦 ), and it is said that Hemingway remained forever heartbroken over his first love, Agnes von Kurowsky.
The film is so incredibly cool to watch because I live in the heart of its setting and it hasn’t changed a bit. Being a historic town, VV looks as though it did during both World Wars (or at least extremely close to it). After playing In Love and War on repeat and sulking about the breakup, I began researching “Ernie” and pulling together some of my favorite quotes of his.
“There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.” – found in For Whom the Bell Tolls
“Try to learn to breathe deeply, to really taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, to really sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good & angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
“Out of all the things you could not have, there were some things that you could have.. & one of those was to know when you were happy, and to enjoy all of it while it was there and it was good.”
“Life is unpredictable; it changes with the seasons. Even your coldest winter happens for the best of reasons. And though it feels eternal, like all you’ll ever do is freeze, I promise spring is coming, and with it brand new leaves.”
“You talk like a timetable. Did you have any beautiful adventures?” – found in A Farewell to Arms
“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.”
“I can’t stand to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.” – found in The Sun Also Rises
“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.”
As I’m sure is apparent, the excerpts I’ve shared are all related in that they have to do with living and appreciating life. Hemingway, though perhaps broken and in pain (he married four times and eventually took his own life), certainly offered great advice about living. In the scheme of things, our time on Earth is so excruciatingly short.. to worry serves no purpose, to wait is ludicrous, and to simply exist is one of the saddest ways to spend your days.