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Never pay to be depressed

Published February 04. 2012 09:01AM

My husband and I enjoy most of the same activities.

We both relish kayaking, biking, dancing, nature walks and photography. That's fortunate because neither of us has to sit home alone while the other is out having fun. Togetherness can be a blessed thing and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for this gift.

But one thing my husband and I find hard to do together is to go to the movies. Our tastes run in totally opposite directions. He likes the shoot-em-up, mow-them-down, high speed, high action movies and I like the freely good movies.

I like clever dialogue that elicits feeling. When we watch a movie like that, he complains "nothing is happening."

The solution is simple. I go to the movies with my favorite friends. He stays home and watches sports.

My friends and I have great fun planning a day around a movie matinee or an occasional Girls Night Out.

But even then, I have a hard time convincing friends to see the shows I'm most interested in. When I go to the movies with a group of women, we vote "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" during the coming attractions. That's the way we pick our next movie outing.

During a recent vote, the only movie I voted to see was "Joyful Noise." Not a single other person wanted to go.

So I did a movie swap with my close friend, Jeanne. The plan was to each pick a show. She wanted to see "We Bought a Zoo" which didn't sound very appealing. I was wrong.

It turned out to be an enchanting "feel good" movie about a true-to-life family situation. At 7, Maggie Elizabeth Jones who played the part of the young daughter in the movie is easily the most captivating actress I have seen since Shirley Temple grew up.

Now that I saw that movie with Jeanne, she agreed to see "Joyful Noise" with me if it's still playing by the time we get there.

After I came home raving about the Zoo movie, my husband asked why I like "kiddie shows."

I guess it's because I'm just a grown kid - a kid who loves an uplifting story, whether it's in a book, a magazine or movie.

I also have a low tolerance for blood and gore on the big screen or for stories that depress me. Never pay to be depressed is one of my mottos.

I'm selective about what I read, what I see and the people with whom I spend my time. Life is so short. We can't do it all. So it makes sense to me to select people and activities that are uplifting.

One of my favorite friends is Fran, who manages to always stay upbeat despite some heavy setbacks. She and I both have busy schedules so it's a treat when we can plan an outing together.

The last time we "did lunch" we followed it with a movie matinee. Our movie theater has special senior citizen prices so a matinee is inexpensive fun.

Fran and I never have a hard time settling on a movie since she, like me, wants to see uplifting, feel good movies. For our last outing, we chose "A Dolphin's Tale," a movie definitely worth seeing.

It's a true story about a dolphin that lost its tail learning to get by with a prosthesis. Winter, that dolphin, can now be seen at the Clearwater Marine Museum in Florida.

I called my daughters and told them to take their daughters to see it. But you don't have to be a kid to enjoy a movie like that. You just have to appreciate heart-warming entertainment.

I'm sure you noticed how much "noise" there is in life. There are so many things clamoring for our attention and there are so many ways we can spend our time.

When we get that precious commodity called "free time," why not spend it in ways that inspire, or, at least make us feel good?

Last week I got a wonderful email from a woman in Bethlehem who said she, too, is very selective about what she and her family watches on TV. They really don't spend much time in front of the TV, she said, but they do have fun together in their family nights.

On weekends, Alita, her husband and children have "music night" where they listen to songs they download from the Internet.

"We all listen and dance around the living room together," she wrote.

When their kids grow up, they might not remember what they saw on TV, in a movie or on the Internet. But I'm sure they will retain warm memories of dancing around the living room with their parents.

Some call that "quality time" with kids.

I call it a great use of time at any age.

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