I don’t know, maybe it was just shock and it’s wearing off now, but when I saw that fat man keel over and die – Michael, we don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.
— Peter Gibbons, Office Space
It was an interesting concept, and an enjoyable read. You get to watch the main character Jeff use his knowledge of future events to make a lot of money, but it doesn’t make him happy. You get to watch Jeff use the money to attract loose women, but that doesn’t make him happy either. It’s an interesting story about the life choices one makes, and the results that those choices will bring.
The underlying message, I felt, was that of time. In his new life, Jeff knows the age at which he will die of heart failure. With this understanding of exactly how much time he has left to live, he does his best not to waste any moment of his “replay.”
What I thought was most interesting about Jeff’s character was how it took the drastic act of DYING before Jeff actually started changing his life. He was living miserably with a woman he had grown to hate, and the stress of his job was literally killing him. The heart attack that ended his first life happened on the job.
In his replay, Jeff returns to the same spot where he met his wife the first time. His plan is to really communicate with her this second time around, instead of harboring his feelings of discontent to the point where their marriage is broken. Similarly, he makes informed career choices in a conscious effort to pursue real happiness, rather than simply going through to motions to collect a paycheck. It is interesting to think about how in Jeff’s previous life, he worked to earn money which only served to fuel the tormenting nature of his unspectacular life. Put another way, he was “working to live” without having a life that was worth living!
The thing is, I believe that many people live this way. You want a different life but you’re stuck in your current one. You don’t act upon your impulses to really pursue the life that you want, because you’re afraid of the potential consequences. You’re terrified of losing what you already have.
I’ve often been places in my life where I was terribly unhappy, but year after year I’d suffer through it, simply waiting for something to happen — waiting for something to change. The difference between our life and Jeff’s, though, is that we don’t get another shot at it. There is no second chance.
I was thinking about this underlying message, and went to research Replay’s author, Ken Grimwood. I was hoping to contact him to say that I really enjoyed his book, and that I had similar interests in living the life that I want to live with no regrets.
What I found was that Ken Grimwood had died in 2003. In fact, he died of a heart attack, while writing the sequel to Replay.
When I found out, the message that I had already learned from Grimwood’s novel was really driven home: We only get one shot at life, so don’t waste yours.
I believe that Grimwood was writing a little bit of himself into his main character Jeff. I hope that before he died, Grimwood was satisfied with the life that he had chosen as a writer. I’m grateful for the story that he’s added to the world, and I’m upset that I missed my chance to contact him. That being said, I’m determined to help propagate the message I believe Grimwood was trying to convey:
If you’re waiting for the “perfect time” to start making changes in your life, know that you’ll grow old and die before it ever happens. Perfect timing doesn’t exist. Right now is all that we have. If you’re not who you want to be, then I implore you to start living the life you really want to live. Start now. Today’s the day.
|If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!|