Nine years after its release, I watched Lost in Translation on HBO. When it was over, I convinced Kim to watch it with me, and I enjoyed it as much the second time. I even noticed a few detailed I missed the first time such as when Charlotte stubbed her toe.
The idea I take from the film is that connections can change the trajectory of your life. But they aren’t guaranteed nor do they occur often. When they do happen, they are the source of so much joy that the rest of life’s complexities fade into the background.
I recently wrote about a friend I meet for Pho a few times each year. We chat for hours, and he’s my only guy friend that I hug when we meet or say goodbye. I don’t know why other than I share a bond with him that’s strengthened over time.
Last spring I sat down at a hamburger joint in Salt Lake City with my father. I’d recently lost my job and my career was in flux. I listened to him describe what it’s like to see your spouse become very ill, and how his plans for retirement had changed because of that. I’d never thought about it from his perspective, but there is was in all its emotional rawness.
It’s not easy for my father to say, “I have no idea how this turns out”, yet when he said that I felt a connection to him that I hadn’t felt before. He’s dedicated and controlled in his actions. But he was vulnerable in that moment, and it brought us closer together.
I told my father that I have no clue what I’m going to do to support my young family. I’d recently started a small business with a friend to escape having to take another mindless corporate job. I wondered if he’d question my work ethic. Instead he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “You’ll figure it out. You always have.”
When the movie ended I told Kim that I could relate to much of it because I’d felt that instant bond when I first met her in Las Vegas. I didn’t feel the need to be someone I wasn’t because she was happy with the imperfect me.
That so few of these connections have taken place in my life has me wondering if they are naturally rare or if I’m not perceptive or skilled enough to create more of them. But I know that I’m happiest when they are occur regularly.