In the end, all you have is your experiences. Your life moments and life stories. Your memories. They help define you, help you define your existence, and are the reason for life itself. They don’t wait for you to prepare for them, they just happen. And, as often like I have experienced it, they usually pass before you realize their existence.

Two nights ago, I watched a movie called The Rules of Attraction. It’s about the experience of college life, experiences that many people can identify with. There’s the drugs, the sex, the chase of a crush, the depressions, the obsessions. And you realize afterward how real it all was at the time. However, my initial reaction to that movie was that of confusion. I totally didn’t get it. No point, no plot, just a bunch of random experiences. And the end of the movie was basically just sharp stop. No real closure. I watched it with my brother and he got it. I asked him what the point was, and in many words said I just didn’t get it.

Tonight, I just watched Garden State for the second time. It’s even better the second time around. Garden State is also about life experience. It pretty much reminds you that things are gonna happen no matter what. Your experiences are defined by your choices. They might be good or bad, but it’s yours and no one else’s. I think that is the best message of the movie for me. To realize that I’m the only one who can control what happens to me, how I deal with it, and what I do to move on. I can totally identify with so much of the movie.

And thus, this is the problem I had with the first movie. I could hardly relate to many of the situations that occurred and thus felt rather disconnected from the flow and stories. Most of it was random, meaningless story to me. But Garden State was totally identifiable. I realize that even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as someone else would, it has just as much chance of being a good movie to another person.

*spoilers below*

Near the end of Garden State, they main characters are sitting in a bathtub when he starts talking about a random memory of his mother. It’s weird, because at that time I thought about my grandmother. The scene started out with him playing with a necklace that belonged to his mom, probably recalling what his memories.

I remember many years ago before my grandmother moved out of her house, I knew that someday soon she was going to leave her house. In fact, I think I remembered hearing from my mom that it would probably be my last time to really visit that house. Every summer from when I was really young to when I was in high school, I would visit her for a week. One night during my last week long visit with her in high school, after we were both in bed, I got back out of bed for about 30 minutes to walk around the dark rooms. I went to just about all of the rooms, realizing that I was creating a memory for myself. I knew that I needed to go to every room and look around for a picture that I could keep with me. Yes, I’d been in all of those rooms for most of my life anyway, but something drew me to actively make this memory. I was “in it” as Sam elegantly put it, knowing exactly what I was doing.

Right after my grandmother died, I remember how weird it was to see all of these personal belongings of hers. I remember feeling so strange because she was missing and all of her stuff was right there. One of the more difficult tasks was trying to decide what to keep and what to give away. Part of you wants to hold on to everything, sulking over what happened in some denial. But you realize that at some point it would be time to let go so what would be the point of keeping so much random stuff. It’s such a weird feeling, and something that I will have to continue to deal with for the rest of my life as I get older.

It seems like I often feel like holding onto my past. It’s never fun to move on so quickly because the change is always such a pain to go through. But eventually I realize it’s time to move on. It’s time to make new experiences. It’s time to keep going and move onto another important time of my life.