Five things “The Martian” taught me about health

Last weekend, I went to see "The Martian" with Matt Damon. (Point of clarification: he plays the protagonist, Mark Watney, in the movie; he did not accompany me to the showing). I was expecting to be entertained by the movie; I did not expect to be inspired. But I definitely was! martian-movie

Here are five out-of-this-world health tips from the movie!

  • Farming is critical to survival.  My high school had a club called Future Farmers of America. Even back then, I was like, "Whaaat?!" I didn't understand what the club was about, nor why anyone would even think about joining it. Farming seemed so foreign to me, a young suburban girl who only went to farms in October...for hayrides. Now, all grown up, I realize that food doesn't magically appear in my neighborhood grocery store. It has to come from somewhere. For us to be able to eat, someone somewhere has to cultivate land, tend to crops, care for animals. Farming is critical to our survival. Mark Watney figured this out pretty quickly, too!
  • Passion and purpose makes everything worthwhile. With death a possibility at every turn, Mark sent a message to his parents. “I am dying for something bigger, more beautiful and greater than me."  What are we committed to? What are we living for? Is it "bigger, more beautiful, and greater" than we are? If so, it will certainly be worth living and dying for. If not, begin to seek out possibilities. What cause or movement moves you? Passion and purpose turn the most grey, dull life into one that is vibrant, colorful, and pulsing with possibilities!
  • Spice up your life. I confess that I have a tendency to stick to the tried and true garlic and onions to spice up my dishes. When I'm feeling adventurous,  I'll add a dash of cumin. But I am slowly and surely learning to expand my "spice life" horizons. I recently discovered turmeric, a wonder spice that has been used for millennia in India. It has been identified as a help in fighting cancer, improving eyesight, and reducing joint inflammation, among other benefits. Spoiler alert: desperate for seasonings, Mark pulverizes some painkillers and puts them on his potatoes. Don't let this be you! Spicing up your life with real life-giving spices will not only improve your health but also please your palate!
  • Never, never, never give up - Mark faced obstacle after obstacle, challenge after challenge. If he had given up early on, that would've been the end of the movie (and I would have felt short-changed)! Instead, he soldiered on. Happily, he didn't have to tackle all of the obstacles at once. He faced them head on, one by one. This should be our approach as well. When I feel particularly overwhelmed or out of control, I clean my kitchen (or my living room). If one room is clean in my house, and if at least one thing is done, it gives me the sense that maybe I can do the next (bigger) thing, too. The idea is to keep pressing on, and not try to take on too much at once. Just put one foot in front of the other (and pray to God you do not get caught up in a Martian wind storm!)
  • Remember you are not alone - Though separated by miles (light years?), Mark turns to his friends for support, words of encouragement, and a laugh or two. We need each other desperately here on earth, too, don't we? When we feel all alone, we must resist the temptation to cocoon. When we push ourselves to reach out to a friend, their words of reassurance can go far in restoring our perspective and hope. (My own daughter did this for me just yesterday, when I was in a low spot.) Speaking of reaching out, prayer is another wonderful way to reach out for help. Mark utters a prayer out loud, at one moment in his journey. I'm pretty sure there were lots of unuttered prayers going on, too.

Did you see this movie? What did you think? What movies have you seen that have inspired you, health-wise or other-wise?