A Big Screen Becomes Reality

As a teenager, my friends and I would regularly spend the majority of our weekend evenings visiting the mall, sleeping over each others’ houses and seeing the newest releases in the movie theatre. As a 30-year-old, I’m from the era of many beloved teen and young adult films, such as Never Been Kissed, She’s All That, Now & Then and a host of others, including 13 Going on 30, a 2004 movie starring Jennifer Garner, as an up and coming magazine editor who wakes up one day 17 years older. That movie, in itself, always particularly resonated with me, for no other reason then it was the life I THOUGHT I’d be leading, or sought to lead, rather. From a tender age, magazines were always fascinating to me and even as a kindergartner, I recall cradling my sister’s magazine in my hands, intrigued to look at the photos and layouts, hoping to someday read/comprehend all the words spilling across the pages.

13 Going on 30

Though I’ve seen 13 Going on 30 countless times, it was numerous years since the most recent occasion, but last night, as my mom and I sat down to dinner, I began channel surfing and landed on a showing of it and decided to catch the last 30 minutes. As Jennifer Garner and her fellow co-stars (Mark Ruffalo and a host of others) filled the screen, a moment of realization sunk in. The movie, from 2004, which premiered in late April, just days leading to my 16th birthday, now depicted adults the same age I currently am. It was eye-opening at that moment, watching a film I first watched and enjoyed as a teen believing I’d eventually be leading the “cosmopolitan” life I thought I coveted. Watching the movie became difficult for me and I found it nearly excruciating to get through; an instance completely the contrary to how I’d felt as a teen. After my 19th birthday, I all but abandoned my goals and dreams of one day becoming a magazine editor or journalist, switching my major halfway through college, realizing that maybe my original dreams no longer suited me and what I felt my calling was. Still though, watching the last parts of 13 Going on 30 was a reminder of everything I left behind and how my teenage and high school years came to an abrupt end at the beginning of my senior year in high school. Often times, as I’ve said to close family members, I feel as though I closed my eyes as a 17-year-old in early September, leaving behind friendships and goals and woke up much older, needing to readjust my dreams; similar, in a way, to Jenna, the title character in 13 Going on 30.

One thing about the movie though, still stands as true to me as it ever was. During one of the last scenes of the movie, Jenna, as a magazine editor, presents her “vision board,” to other magazine staffers and her boss, emphasizing the need to see REAL women in ads and magazine profiles. In this presentation, she states, “I want to see…real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are… I think all of us want to feel something that we’ve forgotten or turned our backs on because maybe we didn’t realize how much we were leaving behind. We need to remember what used to be good. If we don’t, we won’t recognize it even if it hits us between the eyes.”

The perspective of Jenna is one I’ve always maintained, no matter the changes or shifts I’ve undergone in my life and in the 14 years since the movie’s premiere. Looking back on my difficulties in watching the film last night, I realize that even though my dreams of being a magazine editor living a sophisticated life may have shifted, I can see look that life and appreciate it, recognizing it as a beautiful one, but perhaps not for me. It’s the way I’ve started to look at other things in my life, simultaneously – seeing clothing or accessories on someone and appreciating how it looks on them, but realizing it isn’t right for me. Simply because we admire or think something or someone, for that matter, is beautiful does not mean or have to be right for me or us.

Live Life quote                             Growth quote

It’s true evidence of the quote, “The way we are looking at things changes the way we see them.”

Change What you Look At quote

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Aging Without Limits

Those who know me, even slightly well, know that I’m a voracious reader, often indulging in numerous books throughout the month, savoring them and then advising others to read them, as well. Reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine, offering me refuge from an often stressful and tumultuous life. For me, reading is a comfort, transporting me to the life of another, allowing me to travel from the comfort of home, or wherever I may be. Each page turned is an adventure to embark on, with the words often coming to life.

With that being said, innocently enough I requested a new book recently recommended in one of the many magazines I read. I was excited to indulge in this particular book, having read a brief excerpt. As I typically do, upon picking up the book from the library, I turned the book to the back to learn about the author; a year jumped out at me: 2010. It was the year I graduated college, a year that served as a culmination of four often painful and excruciating years to endure due to emotional and physical constraints. The brief biography of the author stated she graduated college in 2010, as well. Absorbing this fact, I was caught off-guard to say the least and quickly found myself falling down the comparison trap, yet again. There I was, perplexed as to where I would fall as far as a career and personal life and yet held within my hands was a potential bestseller, or at least a published novel, by my peer of the same, or vastly similar age.

Instead of continuing to fall deeper and deeper into the comparison trap, I forced myself to recite this very phrase: “Everyone has their own time.” It is true though, isn’t it? There is no set time, place or moment, that we really have to be doing anything at all. Our life is own, our own story to write and detail each day, each breathe and each moment. The stories I love most are the ones I hear about people who realized this, people who didn’t set a time limit for achieving their goals and dreams. Often times, people who are most inspiring to me are the ones who were brave enough to make significant changes and take significant risks, years or moments beyond when people “typically do.” What do I mean when I say this? I mean, the women who may have had children in her 20’s, who had dreams of becoming a nurse, and abandoned her goals for the sake of her family, but later returned to school in her 40’s to become a nurse and ended up being one of the best nurses a hospital or medical facility could ever ask for. Or, the girl who suffered so deeply from illness as a child, or never was able to travel and later became a travel writer, as an older adult, traveling the world, writing and telling others all about it. Bravery and courage and the ability to continue on, in spite of our difficulties or the ideas in our heads about “how it is supposed to be,” are most attractive to me. Each day when I find myself wallowing about the current state of my life, I remind myself of these people and remind myself that no matter how alone at times or isolated I may feel, (learned from a quote I read last night!): I can always look outside at the sun or moon and know that at that very moment, someone, somewhere is looking at that very same sun or moon.

change-quote

Maybe others can relate to these sentiments, or perhaps not, but regardless, I thought it was important to share, because they are thoughts that help me during life’s toughest moments.

life-limits                     never-too-late

Changed in an Instant

Yesterday was a day as typical as any other day. At night, I met with a friend for a bit and then arrived home around the early 10pm hour. Throughout most days and evenings, I am typically checking social media quite voraciously, loving to read the latest news and be aware about what is actually transpiring. Last night, upon arriving home, I mindlessly clicked over to the Twitter app, curious to see if anything new and exciting was occurring. Though, what I came to see was new, but not in a positive sense.

Merely 15 miles from me, give or take, 8-10 train cars completely derailed off-track, trains that were innocently-enough traveling as they typically did from Washington D.C. to New York City. Instantly, from reading the massive number of tweets from local and national television anchors, in addition to numerous TV stations, I knew something was gravely wrong and that this was not a minor event, by any means. My heart began to race as I scanned through tweets and Facebook posts, seeing people being escorted in numerous amounts from the trains, covered in blood, many distraught and crying, some inconsolable. I was disturbed and unable to sleep the majority of the night, feeling almost guilty in a sense for laying there in bed, safe, while these other innocent individuals were faced with massive destruction and a life-threatening experience. At this point in time, 6 train passengers are confirmed dead, with a significant number of others in critical condition, or injured in some way. The entire night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the crash, the people on aboard, their loved ones, the people waiting for them at home. It could truly happen to anyone and I couldn’t help but place myself in the passengers’ shoes and in their loved ones shoes.

Too often, we, as people get into our cars, or other modes of transportation without thinking of much. Sometimes, when driving, we are caught in bumper to bumper traffic, or we leave the house later than we needed to and are rushing to get from one place to other. At these times, we can drive on autopilot, failing to consider the others around us who are also driving. Yes, we are driving cars, trucks, SUV’s, and the like, but there are people who are driving these modes of transportation. People, who are mothers, fathers, sister’s, brother’s, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands, wives, and the list goes on. They are not simply an inanimate object operating a vehicle. I think sometimes, we, as people can forget this, as we become distracted and caught up in getting to where we need to, or we take out or anger and frustration on the roads.

In an instant, everything, and I mean, everything, can change. Sometimes they can truly change for the positive, but other times, the change can be grave and detrimental. In an instant, those we love can be taken from us. I think this truth is probably what I am struggling with most today. As I watched the trains overturned and the people screaming and running for their lives, or trapped within the trains, I couldn’t settle myself, as my mind continued churning and churning. They are innocent people, boarding a train for what should have been a relatively quick and routine trip, whose lives are now changed, no matter the severity of their physical injuries. Sometimes, I think the emotional injuries can be worse than those of a physical nature, because no band-aid can eradicate the emotional scars and wounds, except time and a new perspective. Whether they want it to or not, this train experience will change all of those involved, or even those who witnessed the third accounts of it, like myself.

I was wracked with such pain and empathy for all of those involved, wishing there was something I could do to somehow make it better. Though, I realize, the only thing I can do is love my family and friends and be as safe as I can be on the roads and realize that being late somewhere, or going a little slower on the roads isn’t going to make that much a difference. Every minute and second counts.

Today and for the days to come, I am keeping those involved in the trash crash in my surrounding city close and deep in my thoughts, praying for a fast recovery, both a physical and emotional one, hoping they know their strength and their ability for resilience. I’m also truly thankful and in awe of all the first responders and officials who quickly spun into action to help these people. They are truly heroes and I have the utmost respect for them and hope they know how much they are appreciated and celebrated, today and everyday.