Living your life like Lizzie

How the beginning of each Lizzie McGuire episode will give you all the advice about life you’ll ever need.  

 

If you were a kid in the early 2000s and you had cable; you loved Lizzie McGuire. No other show so brilliantly captured the life of someone who was just beginning their second decade on earth. It covered all aspects of our experience at the time. Weird parents that just don’t understand you? Check! Constantly rotating crushes that never really went anywhere but dictated the ups and downs of each day? Check! An animated Freudian ego that was always prepared with a witty comeback. Double Check plus the 20% tip! Sometimes it was funny. Sometimes it was cringeworthy. But it was always fantastic representation of the clusterfuck of emotions that was middle school, and that’s why we loved it.

Now while Lizzie McGuire was a great show, it wasn’t without its faults. There are serious questions that, to this day, still remain unanswered. Questions like: How come the animated Lizzie McGuire didn’t really look like the actually Hilary Duff? Where exactly did Jack land on the spectrum and how come no one tried to help him? What type of name is Lalaine? And of course, what ever happened to Miranda in season two? Unfortunately, some things aren’t really meant to be understood

Outside of these universal questions, I think the lasting legacy of Lizzie McGuire, for me, will always be the lessons it taught me about life and good TV. For instance, Lizzie taught me about the importance of delayed gratification. We all knew that Gordo and Lizzie had a crush on each other and that it was just a matter of time before they would eventually hook up. A lesser TV show would have paired them up pretty quickly but these assholes decided to make us wait 3 years to see the kiss, and only after we paid additional money for the movie. While frustrating, this tactic did teach me that anything good is worth waiting for. (This patience and trust was subsequently tested and violated with the series finale of LOST, but I digress.)

Interestingly, the most important lesson learned from this series wasn’t given in a special episode, or an animated monologue or a season long arc. No. The most impactful lesson I’ve learned from this show can be found in the theme song. And no I’m not talking about “What Dreams Are Made Of” by Isabella Parigi (dark-haired Hillary Duff) in the Lizzie McGuire movie. Lizzie McGuire’s greatest lesson is located in the lyrics to the open song of each show, “We’ll Figure It Out” by Angie Jaree.

If you believe

We’ve got a picture perfect plan

We’ve got you fooled

Cause’ we only do the best we can

And sometimes we make it

Sometimes we fake it

But we get one step closer each and every day

We will figure it out on the way

We always have the misconception that people with confidence know what they are doing and can lead us to greater truths. This is the reason why Charles Manson, “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Scientology are popular. People are always drawn in by charismatic leaders who claim they know all of the answers to the difficult questions when in reality, they are just as lost, confused and scared as the next guy. At the end of the day, they are all just polished salesmen looking to take advantage of you. Manson was batshit crazy, Leonardo DiCaprio actually sold everyone shitty bonds while he stole and L. Ron Hubbard turns out to be a really good science fiction writer who now knows your darkest secrets and will blackmail you if you decide to leave. It took me a couple of years into adulthood to realize that in actuality, we’re all just scared animals trying not to get eaten alive in this fast-paced world. At the end of the day, all of us are just making up shit as we go. Some of us just do it better than others.

When we are children we think that grown-ups have it all figured out. We are told that if we stick around for long enough, we’ll eventually figured everything out. This is a lie. There is no magical knowledge that we obtain at some point between our 18th and 21st birthday. NEWSFLASH PEOPLE that “grown-up feeling” we’re waiting for doesn’t exist. No one is ever “ready” for what life will throw at them. We just try to react in the way that causes the least amount of issues and pray that everything ends up OK. That’s it. And the second you think you DO have it all figured out, life will throw in a game changer and flip the script on you. (That’s the last of the depressing stuff, OK)

This is why the theme song to Lizzie McGuire is so amazing in retrospect. It dropped the secret knowledge of “adulthood” for us to subconsciously absorb each and every time we watched the show. With eight simple lines, they reinforced the idea that it’s OK to not know what to do next. As long as you’re moving forward and trust your instincts, you’ll be alright. And to make the point stick even more, they embedded it into one of the most memorable aspects of a show, the theme song. As time goes by, you may forget what happened in specific episodes but if you are a fan of a TV show you never forget the theme song. The whole reason I’m writing this post is because I saw Hilary Duff somewhere online and this song got stuck in my head. 12 years after I last watched Lizzie McGuire was the first time I truly listened to the theme song.

lm2

As with most TV themes, often the song you hear over the opening credits is just a portion of a full song. I wondered…if the first verse of this song could pack so much knowledge, then what other eternal truths could the rest of the song be hiding? I searched, I found, and the answer did not disappoint. Let’s just say it like this, if the first verse was a message for kids, the second verse was definitely a message for the adults.

If you only knew

All of the notions in my head

You’d understand

Why some days I can’t get out of bed

Are we winning or losing?

It’s just so confusing

But we get one step closer each and every day

We will figure it out on the way

This second verse is both tragic and amazing. Tragic in that it is a steep departure from the optimism of the first verse. Never would this have made it into the kid’s versions of the song. But it was amazing in that in so accurately describes life as an adult. There isn’t a more adult feeling that lying in bed not wanting to get up because you are overwhelmed by the challenges that are waiting for you when you step out the door. (OK so there was some more depressing stuff)

At the end of the day, whether you’re 9 or 90, this song reminds us of the valuable lesson that progress is never a straight line. There will be stumbles and false starts but that’s the nature of the game. You’ve got to go hungry for a bit if you want to earn those six pack abs. What matters most, however, is that you learn from your errors and continue to move forward. The only bad thing you can do after making a mistake is to give up. So when the road gets rough and life gets you down, hire Angie Jaree as your life coach and keep on keeping on. And if you don’t know what your next move is, don’t worry, we will figure it out on the way.

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