Inspiration Vault: Rewatching old films = wasting time?

I rewatch the Harry Potter films almost every two years.

During this Christmas break, my family and I started to watch them again. I still don’t like the plot where Ginny and Harry become a couple. I don’t see the chemistry. It was all sudden. And the character Ginny barely showed other facial expression than Poker Face. (Might be a bit harsh to say so. But I can’t find a way to describe it otherwise…)

But this time I realised how the films intended to portray Ginny as a very strong woman and a powerful witch. That was quite satisfying to see.

Anyway… enough with my latest HP film thoughts…


I was wondering, why is it that I like to watch something again and again?

I used to do that very often with films I like. Not to mention I’ve watched Friends for what feels like millions of times. 

Isn’t that just wasting time? What’s the point of doing such things? 

Yes, it is relaxing to watch familiar things. You know roughly what’s going to happen. So there won’t be surprises. There’s only the satisfaction to be able to “foresee” things.

But there’s also the thrill in case we find any detail that we missed the previous times when we watched it.

And, we might come to some new understanding about certain plot and characters with each new watching time.

We are not who we were when we first watched them. 

We watch the old stuff again and again because we feel connect to them. We feel connected to our old selves. 

We revisit them, remember them. Remembering who we were, and reflecting on who we are today.

Rewatching films like the Harry Potter series and the Star Wars series is less than an entertainment, but a ritual. Especially for those of us who watched them in our childhood.

Resonating much with us, these characters shaped who we are in the first place, in the time when our own world view was built. The experience of watching these popular films as a shared experience with others around the world, across generations, is how we bound with others, and feel belonged.

Revisiting the films as a form of strengthening connections with our younger selves and with others around us, is by no means a simple “waste of time”.

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The hidden meanings behind taking long walks

After re-watching “Midnight in Paris”, I was brought back to my own strolls in different cities in the world.

Thinking a lot about the plot of this movie as well as of my own experience, I realize some very interesting things:

Whether you take long walks, and how you do it, says more about you than you think.

Long walks in cities have always been one of my favorite activities to do alone, or with some good company.

Don’t know if it holds true for you too. I’ve met people who complain about walking too much and getting sore legs and hurting feet after (only) one hour of walking, while I can joyfully accept a 5-hour long walk with a good conversationist in an interesting city. (Provided that I’m not in heels)

The beauty of such activity lies in the simple but dynamic form of spending time: when I’m alone, I observe the street and the people in it. I listen, I smell, I feel the vibe. If I’m with pleasant company, I can enjoy both the conversation as well as the scenery around us.


Poster “Midnight in Paris”

In the movie, Owen Wilson’s character, Gil, takes long walks in the street of Paris. Sometimes alone, sometimes with “a girl of his dreams” — literally, since she’s living in the 1920s and in Paris — both the most Romantic symbols for Gil that are unattainable and nostalgic.

When Wilson’s character wonders alone in Paris, in the sunshine, and in the rain, I feel envious.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say “that’s the dream”. But being able to take walks aimlessly, with no time stress, in a fascinating city like Paris must be a blessing.

One thing is subtle but significant: Gil (Owen Wilson) doesn’t walk in Paris because he lives there. He’s not walking in his world, but in a place that serves as the stage of his imagined “Golden Age”. That’s why Paris is magical to him.

Paris in the 1920s means the ideal world Gil would like to live in. Yet what he experiences in “that world” is not real. Paris becomes Gil’s world only after when he starts a conversation with a Parisian girl from his own time.

The same goes for his walks in the city. He has been an outsider watching, and mostly, imagining what has happened there. The city doesn’t belong to him. And he doesn’t belong to it.

He wants to “move there”. To be part of it.

But he has to learn something first: moving to Paris could only be as fulfilling as he wants it to be when he accepts his reality and begins to appreciate the messiness and the precious beauties in his homeworld.


Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

I do the same. When I’m alone, I’m walking down the street, and the next, and the next. I’m spending half the time watching other people, dogs, and buildings; the other half time, I’m spending with my own thoughts.

Spending time in another reality.

Not everyone can do these long walks. In recent years I find it difficult to do it, too.

The problem is not that I don’t have time. We all have time. It’s just what time means to us changed.

What a shame.

If I can just spend a day somewhere in a beautiful city by myself, in the streets, that’d be wonderful. And I would be proud of myself for having a strong and clear mind.

Because no fear for time is the greatest martial art for the mind.


Another thing about long walks that I really love, is to walk and talk with a really good friend.

I used to do that a lot with some friends back home where I grew up.

The walking-talking sessions were usually one-to-one.

We used to meet up somewhere and started talking and walking, aimlessly through the city.

No destination. No restaurant. No bars.

Just a friend and I, in the street of a busy city.

We passed by street food stands. We ate, and then kept walking.

We walked for hours, hardly touching our cellphones.

Anything we saw along the way could spark up a new topic or a sequel of what we just talked about.

We laughed hard, crazily.

We laughed so much that we had to crouch down, didn’t care what other people were thinking.

Today’s me would have hated us back then. So careless and loud.

So rogue and not give a damn.

So free.

What I can’t forget is that, while feeling so free, I was feeling very safe as well.

I don’t mean that it’s dangerous to walk with one person in a big city (at night, maybe). But the sense of “security”, the feeling of “certain” and “sure” of yourself and everything in your life… that kind of “safe”, “assured”, and even “content”.

Because the person you can take these long walks with must be very special.

You talk for hours but it’s not just about you nor only about her/him, but both of you.

Interestingly, I felt more “safe”, “assured”, and “content” when I was in my early twenties. But less and less when I’m getting older and older.

And of course, these people with whom I could take these long walks are fewer and fewer.

Well, even I can hardly find the headspace to take such walks.

But I hope you have at least one person in your life with whom you can do such things.

The things that look like wasting time. But in fact precious like gold.

With someone, you feel loved and supported, and you will love and support her/him with all your heart.

If you have such a person in mind, just go ask him/her:

“Would you put on some walking shoes and stroll in the city with me? Make sure to take a bottle of water. And we will stop for ice cream.”

Good luck.

Inspiration Vault: Long Walks

After watching “Midnight in Paris” again, I was brought back to my strolls in different cities by Owen Wilson’s adventure in late night Paris.

Long walks in a city have always been one of my favourite activities to do alone, or with really good company. Don’t know if it holds true for you too. I’ve met people who complain about walking too much and sore legs after one hour walking.

But I can joyfully accept a 5 hour long walk with a good conversationist in a beautiful city, as long as I’m not in heels.

The beauty lies in the simple but dynamic form: when I’m alone, I observe the street, its people. I listen, I smell, I feel the vibe. If I’m with someone I enjoy the company with, I can enjoy both the conversation as well as the scenery around us.

In the movie, Wilson’s character, Gil, take long walks in the street of Paris alone and with “a girl of his dreams”, literally, since she’s living in Paris and the 1920s. Both are the most Romantic symbols for Gil that are unattainable and nostalgic.

Wilson’s character wonders alone in Paris. In the sunshine and in the rain. I wouldn’t go so far to say “that’s the dream”, but being able to walk slowly around in a magnificent city as Paris. That must be a blessing.

One thing is subtle but significant: Gil (Owen Wilson) doesn’t walk in Paris because he lives there. He’s not walking in his world, but in a place that serves as the stage of his imagined “Golden Age”. That’s why Paris is magical for him.

Paris, just as the 1920s, for Gil is something he holds as the ideal world he’d like to live in. But until the moment when he starts to feel attracted to a Parisian girl from his own time, Paris is not his world.

Same goes for his walks in the city. He has been an outsider watching, and mostly, imagining what has happened there. The city doesn’t belong to him. And he doesn’t belong to it.

He wants to “move there”. To be part of it.

But what he has to learn is that, moving to Paris could only be as fulfilling as he would think when he accepted his reality and started to appreciate the messiness and the precious beauties in this home world.

Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

That’s the thing. When I’m alone, walking down the street, and the next, and the next, I’m spending half the time watching other people, dogs, and buildings; the other half time, I’m spending with my own thoughts.

Not everyone can do these long walks. Now I can also hardly find the patience for it.

I didn’t want to say “time”. Because we all have time. It’s just the mindset and perception of time changed.

But, what a shame.

If I can just spend a day somewhere in a beautiful city by myself, in the streets, that’d be not only wonderful, but I’d really be proud of my own strong and clear mind.

Because no fear for time is the greatest martial art for the mind.

Another thing about long walks that I really love, is to walk and talk with a really good friend.

I used to do that a lot with some friends back home where I grew up.

We met up somewhere, and started talking, and then walking.

No destination. No restaurant. No bars.

Just a friend and I, in the street of a busy city.

We passed by street food stands. We ate, and then kept walking.

We walked for hours, hardly touched our cellphones.

Anything we saw along the way could potentially spark up a new topic or a sequel of what we just went over.

We laughed hard, crazy.

We laughed so much that we had to crouch down, didn’t care what other people were thinking.

Today’s me would have hated us back then. So careless and loud.

So rogue and not give a damn.

So free.

Photo by Emre Kuzu on Pexels.com

What I can’t forget is that, while feeling so free, I was feeling very safe as well. Not like it’s dangerous to walk with one person in the city (at night, maybe), but the sense of “security”, the feeling of “certain” and “sure” of yourself and everything in your life…

Because the person you can talk these long walks with must be very special.

You talk for hours but it’s not just about you nor only about her/him, but both of you.

I’m sure you know this feeling: when someone talks to you for hours and they are only talking about themselves. And then it’s your turn. But later they start to “reply” to what you said, and immediately go back to themselves again? (I’m not saying you are innocent in this. I bet you are just like me, sometimes talk about yourself the whole time too.)

Well, what can I say? They are just not the people you can take long, and enjoyable walks in Paris with.

But I hope you have at least one person in your life that you can do this with.

With someone you feel loved and supported, and you will love and support her/him with all your heart.

Don’t ask me “how will I know if this person is the one or not”. Ask yourself. If it’s right, you know. And then you go and ask him/her:

“Would you put on some walking shoes and stroll in the city with me?

Make sure take a bottle of water. And we will stop for ice cream.”

Good luck.

Photo by Ryan Millier on Pexels.com