The New You

Finding the motivation to change.

Finding Meaning in the Lost Finale: Our Response To The End

Finding Meaning in the Lost TV Show Finale

Lost Cast
At the end of the day, what really changes us? Relationships. We change because our behavior is impacting someone or something in a way that we don't or they don't like. In viewing the last episode of Lost, it is clear that over and above the show being about a problem or puzzle to be solved, the show was about the people who were stranded on that island and how they lived and learned together. Many a blog lamented about how the producers of Lost could have or should have tied together the entire plot line.

What happened to Walt? What was the meaning of Jacob and his family? In the end, the only way to end such a confusing story is the same way we manage our confusing lives, to embrace relationships. That's what I did along with the millions of viewers of this popular TV show. Together with Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and John Locke, we mourned, cheered, puzzled and ultimately came out without real answers, but connected to their experience.

Among my friends, family and clients' the reactions from fans of Lost comes in two major forms. One group is frustrated. They are angered by what the writers have "done to them". Confused by the end that didn't provide them with the answers they wanted, they complain that they were lead astray. The other group talks about the beauty of the end, the way the last frame had us watch Jack's eye close the same way it opened. We are left with the circular beauty of life.

Jack's Eye from Lost
I find myself somewhere in the middle. I feel confused and frustrated by the ending, but I reflect on all the enjoyment I have had in watching these lives unfold and can look back on many moments I shared with those I love discussing the complex relationships that were the foundation of the storyline. It is my choice to let go, to allow the plot to slip away and to be transformed by the characters. We can make that choice about Lost the TV show, or about our own lives. We can get lost in the details of our plots, jobs, financial worry, even physical health, or we can refocus our attention on what science says is one of the most important longevity prolonging factors: relationships.

In an early episode Jack forecasts this point and the end when he asks the survivors, "if we can't live together, we are going to die alone". Lost reminds us that what counts in happiness and health is rarely in the details, but in spending time and enjoying experiences with those we love. Signing off for now, off to start watching a new show with my own set of castaways.

Follow Dr. Fader on Twitter @drfader

Jonathan Fader, Ph.D., is a psychologist and an assistant professor of family medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


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