Finding ourselves in Finding Dory
After years of anxiously awaiting a sequel to Disney’s adorable aquatic adventure Finding Nemo, I was able to take my kids to the newest film, Finding Dory, over the weekend.
When it was over and I had some time to reflect, I noticed, as I often do, that many of the themes from the movie can apply to the moving lifestyle. I’m not here to spoil anything for you but I wanted to share why I think moving families, adults and kids alike, will see themselves in these characters.
So if you’ve been living under a sea rock for the past 13 years, let me catch you up. Dory is a lovable blue fish with a short-term memory problem who helps an overprotective clownfish, named Marlin, find his missing son, Nemo, in the first movie. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen Finding Nemo then I question whether you’re really a parent, at all). In the sequel, our beloved Dory is on a mission to find herself, in a lot of ways. She wants to locate her family and remember her childhood. But she quickly becomes scared to set off without the protection of her friends, Nemo and Marlin. Without a short-term memory to rely on, Dory deals with a lot of self-doubt. But throughout the movie, she learns to trust her instincts and try new things in the pursuit of her family. Along the way, she finds new friends and reconnects with old ones.
Don’t we all feel a little like Dory, sometimes? Especially after a move? As if we’ve been plopped down in a strange new environment and expected to simply figure it out. Where do you start? Who do you trust? Where should you go? If you’re lucky, you have a couple trusted souls on the journey with you, like Marlin and Nemo. They can help ground you and remind you who you really are and why you’re so fantastic! But they can’t be at your side all the time. That’s when you have to learn to rely on your own instinct (and occasionally Google), to get you out of the house and into your new hometown. Sure, you’re going to have a few missteps along the way. Like that deli shop that gave you food poisoning or the park you tried with your kids that was covered in graffiti. But eventually you’ll find your sweet spot in your town. The best grocery store, the closest park with a clean bathroom and pizza place with just right sauce. And if you’re brave enough to put yourself out there, you may just stumble upon some new friendships.
And then there’s the memory component. Don’t get me started. My family has been moving for eight years and I take a lot of photos to help me recall all the places we’ve lived, sights we’ve seen and people we’ve met. But the human memory is an imperfect thing. There’s no way to store it all. But what Dory will remind you is that no matter what happens in your life, the most important things are unforgettable. And when life gets ridiculous and you think that you cannot possibly manage to survive another move, try singing this little song to yourself, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim!”