Why This Mexican Watches ‘Eat Pray Love’ Annually

Eat Pray Love

Growing up in a Mexican household, I didn’t grasp that people like me could travel the world. In fact, it was only in the last five years when I realized I could travel – just like Liz Gilbert, Julia Roberts’ character in Eat Pray Love. Though Europe still remains unreachable, movies like this helped me recognize the power of rejuvenation through travel – even if it’s virtually through a big screen.

Watching Roberts portray a character who wants to be OK with starting over keeps striking a chord with me. And somehow, the film continues to teach me different lessons during various seasons of my life. The lessons that Roberts teaches me through real-life Gilberts’ experiences make this movie one to watch every time I need a jump toward a rebirth. Here’s why:

It’s OK to Experience Things Alone

Eat Pray Love

One of the lessons I learned by watching the film is being OK with experiencing moments alone.

At the beginning of the film, Gilbert is so depressed that she gives in to praying – she cries and pleads to God to tell her what to do. After feeling down for days, she confesses to her husband that she doesn’t want to be married anymore.

This scene is one of the most powerful moments in the movie. There are many times in my life when I’ve also felt discouraged, depressed, and helpless to figure out my next move. Not only is feeling depressed an example of burnout, but it’s also a clear indicator of needing something new. A rejuvenation.

Gilbert ends up leaving her husband, then starts a new fling with another man. But the new romance doesn’t do anything for her. That’s when she realizes she has to go on a self-discovery trip alone. She recognizes she needs to figure herself out without a man, or anyone for that matter. Her trip’s itinerary: Italy, India, and Bali. 

Though I don’t have the actual money to eat the heavenly pizza Italy promises, zen out in India, or fall in love in Bali, the film got her message through: it’s OK to be alone.

It’s also OK to experience life-changing adventures alone, too.

It’s OK to Let Go of People Who No Longer Serve You

Eat Pray Love

Going from the last point, it’s OK to let go of people that no longer serve you. In Gilbert’s case, it’s her husband.

Gilbert regularly gets asked throughout the movie if she’s married. The older ladies are so concerned about her status – and why there’s no man around.

During one of the scenes, she’s asked this million-dollar question by an older woman while preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. The lady asks how she will find a husband and start a family if she’s traveling the world. That’s when Gilbert’s friend stops her cold and says that if Gilbert was a man traveling for a year, she wouldn’t be getting these types of questions.

Gilbert shrugs it off. But isn’t that true? Personally, I believe so.

There are other instances when Gilbert gets asked the same thing. After facing a hard divorce, her courage to travel alone and being single shows me a lesson about love: it’s OK to let go of a person that no longer serves you.

Sometimes you outgrow someone or simply change. That’s when you have to learn one of the harder lessons about love – when to let go.

“Il Dolce Far Niente” – It’s OK to Do Nothing

Eat Pray Love

The last lesson Eat Pray Love has taught me is the pleasure of being unproductive.

What’s “il dolce far niente?” It’s an Italian phrase that translates to: “the sweetness of doing nothing.” 

Not to sound stereotypical, but it’s something that we Latinos have trouble doing. We are always working, hustling, or preparing for what’s next in our busy agendas. And if we’re home doing nothing, all of a sudden we’re challenged by our madres to do something. ¿Estás aburrida? ¡Ponte a barrer!

Well, during Gilbert’s travels, she is taught by Italians that it’s OK to relax. It’s OK to take a break if you need it – without feeling guilty too!

This lesson hits hard. A few years back I would drown myself in work. Now, not so much. After the pandemic, my priorities changed. Within those shifts, I balanced out my work-play life. Currently, I practice a clear boundary between when I work and when I rest. 

Bottom line? We don’t need to travel the world to learn important lessons in life. Sometimes all you have to do is put Eat Pray Love on and let it do the magic. It’s cheaper than traveling internationally, too.

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