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For some reason, our society equates responsibility with seriousness. Humour and light-heartedness are often seen as marks of irresponsibility or childishness, undesirable in a mature adult. It’s true that too much play and too little work can be harmful, but I’ve found that making time for some fun is essential.
I have a hard time giving myself permission to take a break. I enjoy working hard, but I feel like I can’t relax unless all the work is done—and there is always more work that could be done. Once I wake up in the morning, I start planning ways to make my day “productive,” and I end up disappointed at night if I didn’t accomplish everything I planned. Stress, low self-esteem, and anxiety are just a few of the drawbacks that can result if I don’t put on the brakes occasionally.
I love that the Ant-Man movie is plain fun, and it doesn’t neglect great action scenes or engaging characters to be that way. Ant-Man and the Wasp continues this tradition, and for those two hours in the theater, I felt like the movie gave me permission to take life a little less seriously. Ant-Man and the Wasp’s jokes are reminders that, while we’re desperately “adulting” through life, humour is not a luxury; it’s vital for creating a healthy balance of work and play.
Surviving “One of Those Days”
After receiving a new, “work-in-progress” Ant-Man suit, Scott struggles to get the size regulator working properly. When he and Hope sneak into Cassie’s school, the regulator malfunctions and Scott is stuck at the size of a small child. Instead of giving up, Scott grabs a child’s jacket from a Lost and Found box and uses it as a disguise, allowing him and Hope to reach Cassie’s locker and retrieve the original Ant-Man suit from its hiding place.
I laughed so hard during this scene, especially when Scott returns to the van and Hank says, “Hiya, champ, how was school today?” Even though Scott’s visit to the school is less than ideal, he still pushes through and gets the job done, instead of letting the challenges get to him. When I’m having “one of those days,” I get frustrated easily and wish I could hide from my problems. But the situation always turns out better if I choose to see the humour in my struggles and press forward until the situation is resolved (and possibly take a break for “a juice box and some string cheese”).
Making Time for Loved Ones
Ant-Man and the Wasp’s opening scene made me smile right from the start. Confined to house arrest for aiding Cap during Civil War, Scott entertains his daughter using an elaborate maze, slide, and ant sled created from cardboard. He also says that he learned magic tricks for her amusement. Although Scott feels like staying indoors isn’t much to offer an energetic child, Cassie’s smiles and laughter prove that Scott’s efforts—and, most of all, his attention—mean the world to her.
When I get overwhelmed with work, my loved ones are often the first thing to be neglected. I tell myself that movie night can wait, that we’ll meet for coffee next week, or that I don’t have time to help them right now. But if Scott can Facetime Cassie while tied to a chair and in the clutches of a quantum-phasing supervillain—all to help Cassie find her shoes—then I can learn to set my work aside long enough to give people the attention they deserve. Chances are that I need the quality time as much as they do.
Keeping Problems in Perspective
A comedic device used in both Ant-Man movies is to show an intense action or fight scene… and then pull back to reveal that the drama is taking place at ant-sized scale, going unnoticed by the rest of the world. From fights on toy trains to car chases with a size-shifting van, these jokes never fail to make me laugh.
I often view my to-do list as if through a microscope—every need is magnified beyond its real size, and I lose sight of many other things. Life has its share of big problems, but I don’t need to add to them by making a minor difficulty giant-sized. The humourous size-changes in the Ant-Man movies remind me that it’s okay to take a step back from my problems and see them at their actual size. Sometimes, when I take a good look at an issue I’ve worried over, I have to laugh—I was afraid of that? There are times when I can’t help feeling worried, but considering the big picture helps me stay calm and handle the issue appropriately.
Despite the numerous jokes, the characters in Ant-Man and the Wasp are serious at the right times—for instance, Scott reassures Hope that her mom would never forget her, even after spending years in the quantum realm. He isn’t just a fun-loving clown, but values other people and their emotions. The film maintains a balance of serious and humourous moments, and that’s a balance I hope to echo in my own life. Maybe life isn’t all drum-playing ants and trophies for “World’s Greatest Grandma,” but it’s not all quantum realms and angry F.B.I. agents, either.
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