Watching 13 Going on 30 and Thinking About the Future
Okay -- so yes, I may or may not have seen the classic, beloved 90's flick 13 Going on 30 merely a couple weeks ago for the first time. But trust me, I'm just as angry as you are. But here's the thing, sometimes things just happen for a reason. For me, I love watching movies and TV shows and I love when they seem to speak to me based on the point in my life that I am. This film did just that a couple weeks ago when I was in a total rut. I needed something light, fun and give me a dose of positivity, so my friends suggested that this was the movie that always made her feel better.
I related to the film on many levels -- way more than I thought when I chose to watch it one evening on Netflix to boost myself out of a post-grad funk. It made me look back to when I was 13 or even younger and how I looked at the future, as well as how I struggled with being a kid I often look back at my childhood and pre-teenhood wanting to go back to that girl and tell her it's going to be okay, but also add that there will be more things in life to be sad, freaked out and nervous for. Like Jennifer Garner's child character, I also felt the need to rush through life sometimes. She desperately wanted to fast-forward her life. She was convinced that being a kid wasn't who she wanted to be and she wanted to just skip it all and just be "30, Flirty and Thriving." As a 12/13-year-old, I didn't have this exact wish so to speak. I was actually never in a rush to grow up, get married, have boyfriends or even be an adult.
However, that doesn't mean I didn't have unrealistic dreams of things fast forwarding in my life, so in that sense, I do feel a relatability to Jenna's character from when I was little. Around that age, I did have one wish, which was to move back to America. At the time I was living in Lithuania and my biggest crisis as a kid during that time, was that the kids at school were mean to me and that I missed my best friends in Cleveland. I specifically remember being pretty depressed for most of the years I lived there and I was literally counting down the months, weeks and days to when we moved back.
The problem was that I idealized this, I wanted to just skip everything else. It's not like I was completely miserable living in Lithuania, in fact, the year before I left I actually joined a drama club at the recreation center at my town that I really had fun -- it was the first group or activity that my little kid brain really fell in love with, and was able to connect with other people. I think what I was doing for a lot of those years was just blocking my experiences because all I cared about and all I was convinced of was that once I was back in the U.S., everything would be A-okay.
Of course, that's not how life works. Yes, things got significantly better in the U.S. I was simply more comfortable with the language, the trends and I had more close friends that meant the world to me. I was finally in that moment I was dreaming for all those years -- back at home. But I soon learned that I was just as awkward in American schools as I was in Lithuanian, math class still sucked, and boys still pull your hair and chase you in the schoolyard (seriously guys, what was up with that?). The point is, just because I idealized that moment, doesn't mean there weren't new problems to fix. I eventually adjusted of course, but that didn't mean my need to fast-forward life go away. Soon I was in middle school and high school, and everyone had boyfriends. It seemed like a cool thing to do. So I fast-forwarded my way into a couple relationships that barely did anything for me. Eventually, I started to realize that growing older is scary, and that wanting to grow up fast isn't what you really want out of life, what you want is to have a fulfilling journey towards the things you eventually will achieve.
And that's how it ties in to the movie's message. Get it?
Now I'm in my 20's and it feels like I can actually relate to 13 Going on 30 even more than I would've if I watched it at 13. Because I definitely now have a similar problem; 23 Going On 33? Or something like that. Ever since graduation, I've been worrying about where I want to be rather where I am. Obviously, goal setting is a good thing, but I know I was getting lost in the future rather than being in the present and letting the natural flow of life as we know it. This feeling, of course, stems from my anxiety and extremely high aspirations. I keep getting worried that I'll never end up where I want to be when it comes to my future goals and endeavors. I keep thinking that I'm running out of time.
And yes, I definitely have a problem of not focusing on the present enough. A part of me wants to plan out every part of my life, but then I get even more anxious because you literally can't. Sometimes I just always want be in the future already when I'm an editor for a magazine in New York or creating my own publication. Jennifer Garner literally wakes up in her 30-year-old body and is already at the highest point in her career, working for a magazine with a closet full of fashionable clothes (yeah, this hit home pretty hard for me). But obviously, she soon realizes that the point in her life was not as perfect as she idealized it to be.
This is a good cautionary tale for anyone who feels like they're rushing too much in life, whether it be growing up, or moving forward in a career, relationship, etc. It makes you appreciate the journey of life than the destination -- and as cliche as that is, I think we could hear that. It's crazy how years and years later, when I think I'm feeling much more content about life than when I was a kid, I still feel the need to rush through parts of my life. I'm graduated from college and obviously thought that once I crossed that stage, I would feel a clarity of what I want to do and where I'm going. The main cheesy yet heartwarming message that I got out of this film, was about not growing up too fast. As well as remembering to embrace my inner kid. I'm in the state of my life where I'm just beginning the adulting process, and it's scary and even sad to think about not being a kid anymore. When we're little, we wish we were adults already and then when we grow up, we wish we were kids again. So I don't think there's any need to rush, because we should take in every part of our lives, do what we love and things will fall into place eventually. It's really hard to have that kind of positivity sometimes, but I guess a cheesy rom-com gave me some perspective that I needed.
Ultimately this movie made me realize something that I've been trying to reinforce in my psyche for a couple months now: trust the timing of your life. Why would I want to just fast-forward to a perfect moment in my life where all of my dreams come true? What fun is that? Okay, let me finish. Here's the thing: the journey is really part of the fun, and more so, it's part of the learning process.
The in-between parts are where you're actually putting in your hardest work and learning about who you are and who you want to be. If you skip all of that (like it suggests in film) and just end up in your "dream life," you won't even be able to really appreciate it. And you won't be married to Mark Ruffalo!