Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Wanna Be Like Gru

I’ve always thought of the start of a new school year as the real New Year. I love going back to school—the new schedule, the new opportunities, the new school supplies…Ah! School supplies. So that makes me definitely a geek, yes. But it also makes me start thinking of fresh starts and resolutions at this time of year.

And…..drumroll, please….for the start of the 2013 school year, I resolve to be more like Gru.

(If you haven’t seen Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2, this post may lose something in translation, but I’ll try to convey why I like the guy so darn much.)

He's Honest: When Gru’s in a good mood, he’s in a good mood. When he’s not, he’s not. Okay, he uses a weensy bit of sarcasm with co-workers and sometimes a touch of misdirection to dodge matchmaking neighbors, but, as a whole, he tells it like it is.

When everyone hates the jelly he manufactures, he admits it. But he looks on the bright side, too. “Just because everyone hates it doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

I think he really had me when he read the girls The Three Little Kittens for the first time and said, “Wow. This is garbage.” That’s honesty in parenting for you!

Of course, he also confesses that giving the girls back to the orphanage was “the worst mistake of my life.” And that’s the honesty that I aspire to as parent—letting your kids know that you messed up, majorly.

He Has Boundaries: Gru knows what he will and won’t do; he has good boundaries and no qualms about maintaining them.

I love, love, love the part where he sprays his interfering neighbor with the hose. “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t see you there.” He does it again. “Or there.”

It’s hard to put his into words, but there’s no burden to his choices. He has a lovely, free sense of “okay, you do what you need to do, but this is what I’m going to do.” It sounds so simple when I put it that way, but it’s hard to live it. Boy, could I use a dose of that!

He's Open-minded: All the same, Gru learns. Aside from the big lessons of love he learns in each movie, he changes in all kinds of other ways. He develops a moral code and a conscience, for one thing. On a lighter level, he tries stuff—everything from going to a carnival to kissing his minions goodnight to letting Margo grow up a little.

I always want to keep trying new things!

He’s In the Moment: I love the part of the second movie when Gru walks across the park all happy and in love, then walks back, depressed, after he finds out Lucy is moving. Sure, he’s a jerk on the way back, but he’s living his life as it is. And the chip hat! I want a chip hat every time I’m depressed from now on.

There are complex psychological terms for this, but he also doesn’t take things personally. The Bank of Evil turns down his loan? Temporary setback. A circumstance, not a personal failure.

And, in the end, letting go of unsuccessful moments like that is what allows Gru—or anyone else—to succeed in the end. So, yes, I aspire to live each moment as it is, so I can let it go and be open to the next one.

He Loves Unconditionally: When he gives his heart, Gru gives it for real. Look how loyal he is to his minions and what a fun team energy they have—celebrating their successes and rolling with their, um, really bad jelly.

Once those girls come into his life, he fights for them—defeating carnival shysters, evil villains, and his own fears without blinking. And he does the for-real stuff, too—the bedtime stories, the kisses, the juggling of work and parenting, the apologies for mistakes…not to mention throwing a fairy princess party for Agnes and even playing the fairy princess. Now that schtuff’s real.

So this is why I like Gru. He’s an “I just gotta be me” kind of guy, complex yet simple, honest, loyal, open, loving…and really sarcastic. It’s amazing how much character they packed into that animated movie.

Plus I have to learn to say “Girls!” like he does….

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