Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is that classic movie that can be seen over and over again. It is that one movie that caught the imagination of the children world over when it came out in 1986. We all wanted to be Ferris, or have a friend like Ferris. We all wanted to skip school. We all wanted to see our school principal suffer. We all wanted to skive out and fool our parents. We all basically just wanted to rebel and defy the authority figures and just live our life to the beat of our drum. (I totally remember wanting to be Ferris singing and dancing to Twist and Shout!).
That is how I perceived the movie when I saw it for the first time- I was only nine years old. I was able to see this movie several times over the years.
However, I watched it all over again two days and this movie took on a whole new meaning for me. Who knew that the message of the movie could prove to be timeless and eternal.
What’s that message?
“Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It.”
Since the pandemic has begun, a massive lockdown has taken place. Flights are closed so no traveling. Restaurants are closed so no eating out. Cinemas are closed so no movies. Public places are no-go places- so no socialising. Instead, we are being told to isolate ourselves, to not meet other people. I’ve been in isolation for three months now- and I am very much used to it now.
But what did I realise in these three months? Exactly that what Ferris says, life was moving so fast, that I was not stopping around to look around. I was missing out on all what life has to offer.
This pandemic feels like to me God’s way of telling me to slow down- to not get caught up in a race.
Struck down with coronavirus and in total isolation, I began to re-evaluate my priorities in life. This slow down made me realise how much more I had going on in my life. I was missing out on all of them because I was living my life in such a rush.
1. I’ve reconnected with a lot of old friends. This has been the biggest joys of them all. My university friends reached out, my school friends and I reconnected. We caught up with each other and realised that even after 20 years or so, we still have that connection that we made as students. That human connection became so much more important than a virtual one.
2. I’ve reconnected with nature. When I sit outside in my garden, I can hear the sounds of the birds chirping. I even hear the sounds of leaves rustling. I hear the sound of the lightning and thunder when it’s raining. I mean, I even hear the cats meowing nearby. I never really paid much attention to these sounds, but when I became more mindful, I realised how rich nature is, how much nature has to offer to us. There was just so much joy to witness nature from my balcony.
3. I’ve become more mindful of my body. Thankfully, with all the restaurants being shut, I’ve begun to eat homemade food. Now I am totally convinced that eating from outside is so detrimental to my health- all that junk food, all that food from restaurants- nothing was good for me. Now I am getting why eating out has always made me feel sick or unwell. There’s just no guarantee of the quality of food I was getting at all these restaurants. Plus, I’ve seen I save lot more money when I eat at home. Bottom line: I’ve become so much more conscious about my health now, which I wouldn’t have paid much attention to prior to the pandemic.
4. Family time has become so precious. The pandemic has made me realise the strength and support i get from my family. I used to have this before as well, but somehow, the slowdown has made me appreciate the support and my family members.
5. My relationship with my cell phone has changed. I use so little of it. I’ve got into reading and writing. I’ve got into talking with friends (instead of chatting). I’ve got into cooking food for myself. I’ve got into focusing on my therapy work. I spend so little time on my cell phone that I am actually enjoying life without it. There came a point where I wished I never had a cell phone because life without it felt so much better.
Kicking Out Fear
The character of Cameron, Ferris’ friend, has made me see his problem in a different light. As a nine year old, I never understood what his issue was. As an adult, now that I see his moment of catharsis, I can understand his frustration and anger. He feels abandoned by his father, he feels pushed around by his father and he feels he is living under fear. He hates this this feeling. He probably would have lived his life this way were it not for his day out with Ferris. (I could probably write a whole essay on his character analysis!)
Sometimes, all we need is perspective, to look at our problems in life. When we have a life issue, they can be seen in a different light if we look at the bigger picture, or if we talk about it with someone else who helps us see the issue from another angle. Sometimes, taking yourself out of your surrounding can help you see your issue in a different light.
Cameron gets that perspective when he spends a day out skipping school – stock market, posh restaurant, museum. baseball game, parade and riding the Ferrari. . His moment of awakening comes when he sees that his father’s car has accumulated so many miles, which cannot be reversed. He goes into a catatonic state, and when he comes out it, he has his a-ha moments. He discovers for himself that he needs to stand up- he needs face his father head on and not live his life under fear. He owns up to his feelings and makes a decision for himself.
This was such a powerful scene in the movie. It is the rebirth of Cameron. It is the moment where he makes a conscious decision to change his life style. I am not sure whether he was in depression or not (but it seems like he was), this moment of reawakening is a joy to watch. (I see similar moments in my therapy work when clients make that discovery for themselves and work on changing their lives).
I love the point where Sloane wants to reach out to him in his moment of anger, but Ferris stops her. This is his battle. It is up to him to resolve his issue. Other people cannot do the resolving for you- you have to do it for yourself. I love how he owns up to his problems and makes a conscious effort to sort them out himself.
In the same manner, when I see my issues from a different perspective, it gives me this strength that I can overcome my fears and cross those obstacles and resolve my issues. This pandemic has made me become so much more grateful for what I have in hand, and has made me see life from a different viewpoint. Other people cannot help me. Only I can help myself and sort out my issues.
Test of Time
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has stood the test of time. It never gets old. It’s a timeless movie because the themes of the movie resonate with everyone- especially the youth.
This is a movie that reminds us to slow down, to take a look at your life, to appreciate what you have in front of you, to take time out to have fun, to take time out for self care, to indulge yourself in something fun you would love to do, to not wait for that moment to come, to create that moment now!
The pandemic has definitely made me become so much more grateful about life. I am able to breathe in clean air because there’s no car traffic/ pollution. I am able to focus more on what I love. I am able to take it one day at a time and making each day count.
Life is indeed too short to wait for the right moment to come. Live your day as if it were your last, and see how that helps you change your perspective on life. Life does move fast, and it wouldn’t hurt to stop and look around for a while.