What The Movie 'Passengers' Taught Me About Being In The Moment

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You can’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be that you forget to make the most of where you are.
— Passengers, Columbia Pictures (2016)

I watched the movie Passengers this weekend, and even though it’s a sci-fi movie set in a time I probably won’t be alive to see, the lessons I took away from it were timeless. The message? Embrace this moment because even if we’d rather be somewhere else, you may as well make the most of it, because you’ll never get it back.

The story is based on two passengers traveling to a new planet, having left Earth to become pioneers in a new world - only thing is that it will take 150 years to get there. One passenger’s pod malfunctions and he wakes up 99 years too early. If you want to know more, check out the trailer, or watch it for yourself.

Neither planned to be the only two awake on the ship - they are destined to live out the rest of their lives on the ship, never reaching their intended destination. One is a mechanical engineer, and the other, a writer. The writer, Aurora Lane (played by Jennifer Lawrence), sought to make a round trip journey to the new planet - which meant that those she knew on Earth won’t be alive by the time she returns. In her mind, the sacrifice of leaving behind friends and family was justified in the pursuit of ‘the greatest story’ and writing her book.

They say that life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans. As I prepare to go traveling in South America in 2018, the lives of my friends and family will go on. What am I prepared to miss out on in pursuit of where I think I need to be? What if I realised that what I was chasing on the other side of the world was here all along? That my lack of contentment is that deep down, I’m afraid to let people in because it makes me vulnerable?

Not gonna lie, I cried at the end of it, which was awkward because I didn’t watch it alone.

It’s these thoughts and conversations that have been bubbling up to the surface a lot recently. And it scares the hell out of me - because being vulnerable means you have to learn to trust. In other people, in the Universe, in myself. I saw so much of Aurora in me - because even though she didn’t choose to be awake on the ship, in the end, she had to make the choice to live in the now, or to go back to sleep with the promise of a new life, but to walk that journey alone.

I know that South America will be amazing, and having a fly out date just makes me appreciate more of what New Zealand has given me. Especially the people I’ve met, and yet to meet. The road trips and seeing more of my own backyard.

The pursuit of grand adventures, I thought I wanted that. Then I learned that imperfect moments, though fleeting, are the building blocks to what makes this life beautiful. To be honest, the best memories have come from getting lost. Or in the silence after a long conversation and just enjoying their presence. It’s not in what you did together, but how you made them feel.

As I sat on that jetty alone, I realised how much of 2017 I spent alone. I’m turning 35 this year, that’s halfway to forty. Whatever the Universe has planned for me, I just need to trust it, feel it, and maybe, just maybe, I will be brave enough to trust again.

Ronna Grace Funtelar

A thirtyish storyteller, hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.