Yes, you read that title correctly. And go ahead, you have my permission to mock me, but just a little.
I admit, I glean a lot of life lessons from pop culture, music and television in particular. And why not! Pop culture comprises the best and worst perspectives of what the human experience is all about–certainly the most interesting, anyway.
Last week, I finished watching two television series I’d been watching for months–Dawson’s Creek and Friday Night Lights. But let’s focus on Dawson’s Creek, shall we? I was a fan of Dawson’s Creek when it originally aired a gazillion years ago (1998, in case you’re wondering), so it was fun to embark on another bout of nostalgia and rewatch it now as a woman with a shit-ton of responsiblities, rather than as the late adolescent/early-twenty-something college girl I was in the 90s.
Back then, I probably didn’t dwell much on the show’s message but rather focused more on whether Joey would end up with Pacey or Dawson. For the record, I’m Team Pacey all the way. Always have been.
This time around, the series finale induced the ugly cry. A full-force flood, actually. If you haven’t watched the show and plan to, maybe stop reading here (spoiler alert) and definitely don’t watch the videos I’m posting below.
In the finale, there were two moments that impacted me most. First, Jen’s video to her daughter Amy, recorded just before Jen’s death. Here is the transcript (from iMDb), with my favorite parts bolded:
Hi, Amy, it’s mom. Well, by the time you see this, I won’t be here anymore, and I know how much that sucks, for both of us. So seeing as how I won’t be around to thoroughly annoy you, I thought I would give you a little list of the things that I wish for you. Well, there’s the obvious. An education. Family. Friends. And a life that is full of the unexpected. Be sure to make mistakes. Make a lot of them, because there’s no better way to learn and to grow, all right? And, um, I want you to spend a lot of time at the ocean, because the ocean forces you to dream, and I insist that you, my girl, be a dreamer. God. I’ve never really believed in God. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to disprove that god exists. But I hope that you are able to believe in god, because the thing that I’ve come to realize, sweetheart… is that it just doesn’t matter if god exists or not. The important thing is for you to believe in something, because I promise you that that belief will keep you warm at night, and I want you to feel safe always. And then there’s love. I want you to love to the tips of your fingers, and when you find that love, wherever you find it, whoever you choose, don’t run away from it. But you don’t have to chase after it either. You just be patient, and it’ll come to you, I promise, and when you least expect it, like you, like spending the best year of my life with the sweetest and the smartest and the most beautiful baby girl in the world. You don’t be afraid, sweetheart. And remember, to love is to live.
I could not watch this part of the finale without thinking about the things I wish for Jax, which include the same things on Jen’s list–the same things on all of our lists, I’m willing to guess. Reminders that life is short and that the future is not to be taken for granted get me in the gut every time.
The second moment was Pacey’s speech to Joey (from iMDb):
Joey: What’s going on in that head of yours?
Pacey: You’re off the hook.
Pacey: You’re off the hook. I’ve never had much faith in that whole “if you love someone, set them free” crap, as evidenced by everything I’ve done in my life up until this very moment, but I am determined to be happy, Joey, happy in this life. And I love you. I have always, always loved you, but our timing has just never been right. And the way I figure it, time is no man’s friend. Well, I have to get right with that and be happy now. Because this is it, this is all we got. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from losing Jen, that’s what I’ve learned.
Joey: Pace, I…
Pacey: Actually, hold on, I’m not done yet, because I also want for you to be happy. So I want you to be with someone, whether it be Dawson or New York guy or some man you haven’t even met yet, but I want you to be with someone who can be a part of the life that you want for yourself. I want you to be with someone who makes you feel the way I feel when I’m with you. So, I guess the point of this long run-on sentence that’s been the last 10 years of our lives is that the simple act of being in love with you is enough for me. So you’re off the hook.
Joey: You know what, for the record, I don’t want to be let off the hook. Because everything I have done has led me here, right now, and the last thing I want is to be let off somebody’s hook.
Pacey: Don’t miss my point here…
Joey: And don’t miss mine. Pacey, I love you. You know that. And it’s very real. It’s so real that it’s kept me moving, mostly running from it, never ready for it. And I love Dawson. He’s my soul mate. He’s tied to my childhood, and it’s a love that is pure and eternally innocent. I can’t be let off the hook because I just might get the notion that it’s OK to keep running.
Swoon. And…sigh. Love…
For your viewing pleasure, the two moments: