When I was younger, one of my favourite movies was a German independent film by writer-director Tom Tykwer, called “Lola rennt.” In English, it translates to “Run Lola Run,” and it centres around a 20-minute period in the life of the heroine that alters the course of her existence completely. Somehow, her strength of will allows her to rewind time for another attempt, at resolving a situation that appears impossible. It’s an amazing, inspiring movie, which holds up to this day, and that I highly recommend to young girls and boys alike. For me, it combined the things I was most consumed by at that time, running (although it isn’t technically a sports flick), love, and the yearning to control my own destiny. As a girl it made me feel strong, and unbreakable, in the face of unknown challenges in the future. While as a woman that has been tested by ups and downs in life, it inspires me to be stronger than I think I am, and to trust that though I might bend, I won’t break.
The best moment in the film occurs when the main protagonist just doesn’t know what to try anymore, having rewound these twenty minutes several times already, to no avail. So she starts running, closes her eyes, and asks her subconscious to guide her in what she ought to do next. I think the reason why this movie is often in the back of my mind, after all this time, is because the more years I’ve lived, the more I’ve found myself faced with impossible circumstances, and no clear path to get through.
I recently lost immediate family to Covid-19, and it’s the worst pain I have ever felt. To know that you will never see this person again, and that they won’t be around to enjoy the people and things they loved, is hard to bear. Families can be fractured, or go a long time without speaking, but, as long as your loved one is alive, there is still hope for things to be resolved between you. Hope that wounds might be healed, and new memories forged. But when the person passes, all that potential for change disappears along with them. Leaving you alone with your memories, which hopefully were happy ones. Because otherwise, regret and despair at knowing that they’re gone forever, and that whatever is broken will never be fixed, can make for uncomfortable bedfellows.
When this event occurred, I enacted my coping mechanism, to try not to fall apart. Immediately, I spoke with my support system, to try to make sense of things, and to also figure out what the next steps should be. If you don’t have close friends or family to turn to, or if your crisis also involves them, I would advise you to turn to a therapist or a social worker (if you have one, or can be referred to one). Or, even calling an anonymous helpline, so you can reach out to someone right away, somewhat share this burden, and at least get another perspective on things.
Ultimately, how you choose to react when you’re faced with a situation that you have no experience dealing with, is up to you. Whatever film, TV show, or literature you reference to inspire your courage, may not fully fit your circumstances or emotions. But I have to say that every bit helps. Just like with any other challenge, the gains made might be incremental, but cumulatively they can help you surmount this, and any other obstacle that you come across. In my case, I flashed back to this movie scene. Probably because, like Lola, I tend to put my faith in the unknown, and trust that my subconscious is guiding my actions, to ensure they’re the right ones.
As always, I pray that this blog post reaches someone who needs to read this, or at the very least, that it inspires new fans of Tom Tykwer’s work.