Fit for Life: Lessons from Scrooge

Saturday, December 29, 2018
Matt Espeut, GoLocalWorcester Health +Lifestyle Contributor

I have been to see A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve for the past 4 years and I love the tradition. I love it because it puts you in a great holiday spirit at the perfect time, and gets you thinking about the year to come. Although it is entertaining, there are quite a few lessons to be learned from his visits with his ghosts, so I will give you my takeaways from the performance.

The first part of the play depicts how mean and rotten Scrooge is, and that his mind is in one gear- make money and be profitable despite what effect it has on the people around him. He scoffs when Cratchit asks for the day off and lashes out at his nephew for inviting him over for dinner. He has the mentality of an old school factory worker, or a bad company to work for. Profit over people, even when the people responsible for your profit are suffering. He wants his food and laundry done by his help despite it being Christmas morning, and threatens to fire them if they don’t comply. Not a nice guy to work for in my opinion.

That night he gets a visit from a spirit telling him that he has three nights of visiting ghosts on his calendar, and each will appear at midnight. The first was from his past, and when he walks down memory lane, he realizes that people cared for him and life isn’t so bad after all. He remembers dancing with his family and enjoying Christmas together. After seeing him become happy, and joyous, the first ah-ha moment came to me. People in general want to be happy, and miserable people actually have to put effort into being mean and hateful. There are so many simple things that bring us joy, that we have to spend more time looking for them over finding things that will upset us or make us unhappy. It really is a choice that we are responsible for making, and we have options.

The next ghost is in the present time, and Scrooge realizes that most people really don’t like him. He then witnesses several people drinking to him despite being such a bastard. This part of the play shines a light on forgiveness, and not holding grudges. Even though he was a despicable man, several people let his antics slide, and in lieu of the season, raised a glass in his honor. They were grateful for the little that he had done for them, and let the animosity take a back seat. When you let go of hate and anger, it frees you up so you can enjoy and be grateful for what you have in front of you now. Holding grudges and being miserable really does require a lot of energy, and negative energy is draining.

The last ghost tells him how things will be if he doesn’t clean up his act. It shows the tragedy that he will leave in his wake, the legacy he will leave behind, and how happy people will be once he dies. To me, this is pretty meaningful, because it’s how you live in the present that will affect the future.

The lessons here are:

Think about the past, learn from it, and cherish the fond moments. Don’t dwell on the negative things that have happened to you, because you can’t change them. Don’t get too hung up on what was, just look at it as a learning experience, course correct, and make necessary changes that will improve your overall situation.

Empower the present and be grateful for where you are now. This is the time to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Like I said above, how you live today will indicate your future. Be good to people now. Start laying the bricks that you want your legacy to be, and always remember that you should treat people the same way you want to be treated. Start finding ways to impact your community and other people and discover what joy it will bring to yourself.

In conclusion, he wakes to realize that it all happened in one night, he didn’t miss Christmas, and he still has a chance to make things right.

Unlike Scrooge, we won’t have a second chance to make the changes needed to be a good person. So, live every day to its fullest, and try to be nice and create good spirit in other people’s lives because we don’t get retakes or do overs in real life.

Have a safe and Happy New Year,

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.

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