Thursday, February 6, 2014

Peter Pan, Wendy, and Angela Montenegro

It's been a long long while since I wrote anything down here, but I am having a hard time forgetting a Peter Pan quote recently and thought I would put some words down about it here. If you have ever read the book by J. M. Barrie, you know that Disney followed it pretty well and that it really is a great coming-of-age story for anyone who is in the process of realizing that they don't get to be a little kid forever.

There are many memorable lines from the story, but my favorite passage has to be the first paragraph:
All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they must grow up and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this forever!" This is all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.
It is a great lead-in for a book. It tells you that Wendy is going to have to learn to grow up before the end of the story, but it also tells you that there will be a character who does not ever learn to grow up. It's somewhat mysterious if someone has never heard the story of Peter Pan before.

Besides this quote, there is also the whole idea of the story to keep in mind - everyone must grow up, but the memories we make as children can stay with us forever, and we should never forget our childlike innocence. Knowing how much of a jerk the character of Peter is also really helps reinforce the idea that people want to grow up, because no one wants to end up like Peter. He is very selfish and doesn't even remember ever having a mother! I don't know about you, but I love my mom to pieces and I would never give up that relationship, even if it meant never having to grow up. Wendy understands this (as well as the "don't forget your childhood" thing I mentioned earlier) and allows her children to fly off to Neverland with Peter when the time comes, but she has taught and loved her children well so that they want to come back home every time they fly off. They, too, grow up.

So this quote is scrolling through my mind frequently and then Boyfriend and I were watching an old episode of Bones last night. In it, Angela Montenegro, the artist of the group, is broken up with by her girlfriend Roxie because she needs someone to plan a future with, whereas Angela really loves to live in the moment. A lot of times, this blog is all about living in the moment, so at first I'm with Angela asking "what's wrong with living in the moment?" And Hodgins (the "bugs and slime" character) leads Angela to the answer: part of being in relationships with people (platonic and romantic), is planning for the future. The present cannot be as sweet without the promise of more to come. For Peter Pan, he does not look toward the future, but lives in the moment completely and life is just not as sweet for him. He has to make chaos frequently to get any enjoyment out of life. When something doesn't go his way, he gets irrationally upset banishing people (and pixies!) and isolating himself. The children who grow up, though, know that there are always new adventures in life and look forward to the newness of them and facing them when they are ready, oftentimes with people they love.

I kind of feel this way about living with zeal, too. It is important to live in the moment and truly experience everything that's happening, but looking forward to the future is okay, too! And planning for the future zealously can be just as rewarding as experiencing the now.  There's always something to look forward to, and though there are times when it is tough to see, knowing there's a silver lining full of new adventures to come can be just what I need to get through the tough times.

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