It was 2002, I was 16 years old and the movie Sweet Home Alabama just came out in theaters. My small town didn't have a movie complex closer than 40 miles, but that wasn't going to stop me from seeing the movie that would now be one of my top favorites and the only movie that can make any bad day good again.
At the time, I had just started dating a boy that I ended up dating for a long, long time. (It was actually our very first date.) What did I make him do? Dragged him 40 miles to see a chick flick. It had Reese Witherspoon as the leading lady so I knew he wouldn't mind too much. Plus, it was our first date so how could he tell me no?
I'll never forget sitting there in that theatre, watching a movie about a small town girl growing up, leaving what she knew, making something of her life and still finding love at the end with the one guy that she always loved. At 16, all I could think about is how I wanted to leave as fast as I could from that small town and never look back. After all, I knew much more than my parents did or anyone in that small town for that matter.
Now at 26 my life isn't a romantic comedy. My hair doesn't always look perfect in the Southern humidity, I didn't end up my small town sweetheart, and I haven't found my way back to that town permanently either. (Just weekend visits here and there.) What it does remind me is that you can have roots and have wings. You don't have to forget where you came from to know where you're going. And sometimes when you get lost on the way, you can always find yourself when you go back home.
Maybe I'm feeling a bit nostalgic after seeing so many old friends lately, or maybe I'm reading too far into a movie that was only given two stars. Either way it's a memory that I hold dear to my heart.
Because it's funny how things don't turn out ... but it's funny how they do.