“Run, Lola, Run” helped me find my character

Rachel Jaeger
Staff Writer

“Run, Lola, Run” was my first cinematic experience that pulled at my guts and screamed at me to change my major from English to communications a decade ago at another college. 

The 1999 film has also applied to my life, especially since I have felt the pressure building to stabilize myself and in looking around, I feel nowhere near where I should be.

The plot from “Run, Lola, Run” centers around a redhaired, young woman in her early 20s who receives a call from her boyfriend who is in need of money since he lost what he owed to drug dealers. If he doesn’t get the money to them by a certain time, his life is in danger. Since her dad was wealthy, her boyfriend believed that she could help and all along the way in helping him, she runs into trouble—mostly from the ticking clock. While I haven’t had that experience, I resonate with the feeling that I am running out of time.

When I was homeschooled in a rural town of less than 500 people, I wrote and read a lot. I still do but I have begun to see that the writing craft is changing and film is the new literature. In the course of pursuing both writing and film, I have learned what my strengths and weaknesses are. The truth is, I am currently stronger in the writing aspect than the film but in my bones, I feel I cannot just give it up. Books will always be appreciated since many films are created from them and typically, avid readers will still enjoy the book more than the movie because of the depth the movie lacks.

And still, from talking to others, I see most automatically go to Netflix, Roku or other channels for entertainment instead of books. The people also include my roommates. The creative industry is changing.

The line “I wanna go, I wanna fight, I wanna rush, I wanna run, I wanna see you again…” in the soundtrack arouses my anxiety and rushes my adrenaline, not necessarily in a good way all the time. Often, I reach a point where I feel like time is running out, especially since I just turned 30 but I don’t feel like I am “that old.” Because of where I have been, I have had struggles finding the fit for both the creative person I am and for my mental health challenges.

The phrase “Finding the fit” has started annoying me when I hear it. The journey isn’t easy. From my observation, these days jobs are being redefined and new ones are emerging. No one can predict what will be “the new thing,” so in my opinion, I felt like I have had to stay on my guard while still following what I am supposed to do.

And yet, I’ve made connections that have proved helpful. Before coming to Minnesota State University, Mankato, I read Dr. Rachael Hanel’s book “We will be the last ones to let you down” which also resonated with me on many levels. Her memoir spoke to me not with its themes on death and grieving, but also at the end when she stated her childfree stance. Until that point, I have felt like I was the only one who believed that way. Her book became a reason why I chose to finish my communications degree in film in journalism, although I completed a business management associates degree in 2012. That major and that path just didn’t turn out as that fit so often discussed. 

I also recently took a writing course from Hanel at the Arts Center of St. Peter with several others and received feedback on a creative nonfiction book I started about my grandpa who I never knew. I also shot a couple of film projects related to that for my student films but they didn’t turn out well enough to pursue further at this time. The project has existed in my head for years and I have tried different formats and those have failed, this project is one that has not left me alone. I’ve realized the style may have to be different from what is expected from a memoir, a biography or even nonfiction overall. And that’s okay.

I replay a lot of the podcasts of Rob Bell, a spiritual leader who parted from Mars Hill church in Michigan due to his convictions and desires to reach a broad mainstream of people. Since 2015, he has sought how to encourage others in whatever craft they believe they are here to do. Last month, he gave an example of how innovators are usually the ones who live in their parents’ garages since there isn’t that much money at that time since the thing is new. He also said that no one will understand what you are doing until they see that and until then, you keep at what you are doing. While that still isn’t initially comforting, the way he explains it in greater detail helps.

On a personal note, while I was exploring all this, I was in a long-term and eventually long-distance relationship that fell apart. I believed that my life would finally change after this time around of college. But there were varying factors involved, including a family death and dissonance about what makes a family or professional life. The distance became not only physical, but mental and emotional too and finally, I had to let go. Although almost two years have gone by, I did not properly grieve because of how upset I was but it has become part of the journey.

I wish I could say I knew now where I am supposed to be, but I have concrete ideas for the next path. All I know for sure I am leaving with more of a confidence than what I had before. And that has value.

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