Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Wonder Years

Like most books that I read or films I had seen, I stumbled upon the film ‘Tiny Furniture’ written and directed by Lena Dunham as I surfed the Astro channels one Sunday. It was a story about coming of age for a young female college graduate. Although our environments are not similar, I believe that some of us might have gone through similar experiences in search of their identities in their twenties just like Aura in ‘Tiny Furniture’. After finishing college with a film theory degree, twenty-two year old Aura returns home to her artist mother and  has to adjust living at home with her mother and sister. While trying to get over the breakup with her college boyfriend, she catches up with her childhood best friend who has never left home and has a quirky personality. She gets herself a job at the restaurant and quit when she finds it boring. She toys with a couple of romantic possibilities which the viewers can see that they are bad choices and are doomed to start with. As the film develops, the character can be endearingly homey although at times her naivety and passive aggression can be irritating. The character  and her restlessness between post college and adult life are well portrayed.

In ‘Tiny Furniture’, Aura found her mother’s old diary and read some of it. I  kept a diary when I was in secondary school and those years were probably the most awkward era of my life. I would not let it lie around for anyone to read. I feel abashed just thinking about the kind of thoughts that had gone through my mind. Through my jottings, I realized that  I had enough self-possession in some areas but not in others. The self-possession that I had was probably misguided since I lacked cynicism and was hopeful, idealistic and rather naive. I believe that one’s character is what one is  born with but with nurture, we can become either better or worse person than what we have started with. Environment can make or break a person ; the earlier we can recognize our strengths and weaknesses, the sooner we can gain a perspective about the kind of person we want to become. We all get what we deserve by reason of our personality traits hence the choices we have made.
When I was studying abroad, I did some growing but after I graduated, there was still plenty of growing to do. I feel that twenties were my formative years. How I miss those years when life was just about self-indulgence and a zest for new adventures. I wish that I had spent less time idling and were more motivated to make the best of those years. Marriage and motherhood must have made me grow up and give me the kind of grounding I lacked. 

A close friend who is the envy amongst us as she has been able to take time off to travel and dabble in hobbies which she now has time to indulge in since her son is grown up. She has an understanding spouse who seems to allow her the space she needs . When she talks about her wish to take a year off  travelling, we are appalled as she seems to be away all the time.  Despite all the trips she had been able to make the past two years, she dreams of taking a holiday for a year. I perfectly understand where she is coming from. Some of us long to take a year off from our present life as we crave for the return of those carefree days where we need not bother about our daily grinds, commitments and family obligations. While it is wonderful to have a structured and orderly life and the comfort of a life we have grown too familiar with,  we might want to get outside our comfort zone and venture into new territories. We sometimes yearn to break away from the routine and wish that we only have our very own needs to think of and not worry about anyone else at all. If it were just a notion, we will find out when we are so homesick that we just want to come home sooner than we think as there is no place like home. 

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