I’m so excited about this movie (“This is Where I Leave You”) being in theaters (although I have to wait until my bestie gets back in town to see it)! A little more than a month ago, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to read this book along with her in preparation for a blog post on her ridiculously rapidly-growing website, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Reading the book took no time at all; it was just that good. And discussing it on a casual Friday night with good company was just as enjoyable! I laughed out loud while reading it more times than I can count, and I’ve heard that the movie does not disappoint. There was so much dysfunction and unresolved issues, and maybe that’s what makes it so laughable: we all have those, whether or not we’d like to readily admit it.
One of the (many) quotes of which I made note was this one: “Even under the best of circumstances, there’s just something so damn tragic about growing up.” I met one of my best friends (since middle school) last week after work, and the beginning of our conversation upon walking through the restaurant doors went something like this:
“So what’s been going on?”
“Too much. Like, seriously. I did not sign up for this.”
“For real. This ‘being an adult’ stuff…they can have it.”
I certainly know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I’ve seen countless memes and posts on social media relaying this same sentiment. As children, we truly had no idea how good we had it. A couple of weeks ago, I sat weeping at a concert, while watching the artist perform his closing song with his children on stage, one of whom was a little girl (perhaps about 8 or 9 years old). I watched her with her back stage pass around her neck, with just a tiny hint of boredom on her face, oblivious to not only the deep message of the song (“It Coulda Been Worse”), but also to her life in general…and I saw myself. And I wept. When I was her age, there was a part of me that thought it was completely normal to meet celebrities on a regular basis, to don a VIP pass at any and every performance you attended, to ride in limos, to answer the phone thinking you’re going to have a conversation with your father, only to be conversing with a celebrity on the other end, the list goes on. It was just par for the course. Admittedly, these are superficial examples of some of things we take for granted, but it’s what resonated with me in this particular instance, and I wanted so desperately to grab her by the shoulders, look her in the eyes and say, “Enjoy this! Don’t take any of it for granted! This is a moment you’ll look back on and treasure, being on stage with your dad…this atmosphere, this song. This will be one of your most unforgettable moments.” But no matter how many tears were in my eyes or how loudly I may have wanted to yell that, I doubt I would ever be able to make her truly understand.
So really, is it the growing up that’s tragic? Or is it not realizing until it’s too late that growing up shows you that which you never realized?