September 14, 2014

Life is a Journey: 13 Going on 30 (2004)


When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to grow up and be an adult. Every time my parents would hear me say that, they would say something like: you don't want to rush to be an adult and just enjoy being a kid while it lasts. I'm not really sure why I wanted to grow up so fast, looking back, it could have been anything like wanting more freedom and given less orders or it could have been that on a grander scheme I felt that life was all about the big finish...I was kind of morbid when it came to mortality as a kid. Nevertheless my parents were right, because as I got older, I finally started to see what their point of view with respect to me enjoying my childhood while it lasted; especially every year around my birthday when I started to get a little discouraged about not meeting all of my personal goals or feeling as though I'm not where I should be in any particularly area of my life. This year was no different: I guess that's why I felt particularly compelled to watch the movie 13 Going on 30, and remind myself that life is a journey...not a destination.

In 13 Going on 30, Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) learns the tough lesson that life is a journey, that life cannot and should not be rushed, when she makes the life altering wish to fast forward her life to her 30th year. After doing so, she soon realizes that although she physically appears to be a mature looking woman, she still has the mentality of her 13 year old self; which initially presents obstacles for her with respect to adjusting to seeing the world from an adult perspective as well as being seen as an adult for the first time, that she can recall. But, that's not her biggest dilemma, as we soon learn.

What Jenna didn't realize when she decided to wish to be "thirty, flirty and thriving" on her 13th birthday, is that upon doing so, she would realize her life at 30 based on the path that she was already going down. As a result, when she woke up on her 30th birthday, she was then realizing the life of the adult version of the 13 year old person who was pursuing all the shallow things in life, and nothing that she would ultimately hold near and dear, i.e. choice of friends. Her biggest  regrets, of said life choices, then became immediately apparent as she no longer had a relationship with her childhood best friend Matt Flamhaff (Mark Ruffalo) and only had an estranged relationship with her parents. Ironically, the only person she still continued to maintain a relationship with was Lucy Wyman (Judy Greer ), who just so happened to be the leader of the group of mean girls (the six chicks) that Jenna so desperately wanted to impress and be like when she was 13. 


Although it certainly seemed like Jenna and Matt weren't going to have a happy ending together, after realizing that her life choices led her down a different path then what she would have wanted for herself, Jenna has an emotional breakdown that ended up bringing her back to her 13th birthday party, where she initially made the wish to be 30. At that point, she makes a concerted effort to change the outcome of her story. Since none of us will ever get the opportunity to get a do-over, then I simply suggest that we all enjoy the ride while it lasts, make every year count and try to be the best version of ourselves that we can by not shutting out that which is really near and dear to us.

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