Wednesday, April 28, 2004

For a light-hearted, fluffy, family movie, 13 Going on 30 sure got me thinking...

I guess it's because the male actor, Mark Ruffalo, reminds me a great deal of a former friend of mine. His physical appearance, as well as his style of dress and way of moving...

The premise of the movie is that Jenna (played by the very adorable Jennifer Garner) makes a wish that she were 30 years old. She wakes up the next morning, and voila! She's 30. So far, it's quite similar to Big. However, in this instance, Jenna has actually lived those 17 years, but simply can't remember them. Time has passed, she's become an entirely different person, and lost her best friend (Matty) because of it. So when she wakes up in the 30 year old body, she has to go through the process of redefining the person she wants to be, so that she ends up back with her best friend (who of course she discovers she's in love with) The movie was quite a bit of fun, and Jennifer Garner did an amazing job.

It made me think a great deal about the decisions we make in life that sometimes cost us friends.

My M and I were exceptionally close, although never more than friends. We had a very deep relationship that always seemed to hinge on whether or not we should take things further, but as is often the way, we never seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and made the decision not to risk the friendship we had for uncertainty.

We shouldn't have bothered making that decision. Once we'd come to that fork in the road, and chose the route that leads to friendship without romance, M became suprisingly willing to risk that friendship for uncertainty with someone else. I graduated college early, so I went home to look for work while he was still in school. And eventually I heard through various grapevines about several horribly crude things I was apparantly saying about M. I hope I don't have to tell you that I didn't actually say these things. It seems M was telling his new girlfriend that I was fighting for him in a totally devoid of class manner that you might expect to see only when accompanied by a mud pit. Our friendship ended, and I rarely look back. Rarely. But...

I have an amazing man now, who treats me wonderfully, and I have no doubts that I was meant to be with him.

But the movie started me wondering... not with regret. Not that I should have ended up with M. But wondering how differently my life would be right now, if M and I had decided to "have a go" at it. I wouldn't be as happy as I am now, I know that. I wouldn't have taken some of the leaps of faith I've taken. But there would have been others, so how might I have come through those hurdles? Would I have learned to be secure in myself on my own, or did I need to meet GB to have that comfort level reinforced? Would I have taken the risks and moved as much as I have, or would I have settled for an obscure job that just barely paid the bills, and stayed in the college town? I've become a complete person on my own, which is something I feel strongly is needed before attempting to be part of a whole - gestault, if you will. Would I have discovered how it feels to stand on my own when my life immediately became the other half of M? If I've learned anything in the past year, it's that I'd rather be happy with GB at home, than happy for 8 hours a day at work (granted, I'd rather be happy all the time, but if I have to choose, I choose happy personal life over professional). I can know that now, without the lingering doubts and regrets I might have had if I'd had to settle in my career from the beginning...

I'm a firm believer in Karma. Things happen because they're supposed to, because you've done something to earn them, or there's a lesson you need to learn.

But I may always wonder how my lessons may have differed if I'd taken that leap earlier, with the wrong person. So many women do take the leap with the wrong person - why did I luck out and find someone so right?


Leave it to me to take a fluffy comedy and turn it into a deeply introspective commentary on life.

Thoughts for the Day:

Henry David Thoreau - “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it come to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

Arthur C. Clarke - “A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.”

Karl G. Maeser - “Everyone of you, sooner or later, must stand at the forks of the road, and choose between personal interests and some principles of right.”

Lewis Carroll - “One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' was his response. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the cat, 'it doesn't matter.'”


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