Mike O’Donnell: “Come on, man! Don’t you ever wanna go back and do high school again?”
Ned Freedman: “No. I’m rich and no one has shoved my head in a toilet today!”
17 Again (2009)
We have a fascination with body swapping. In a quick Google search I came across at least 100 titles involving body swapping or place swapping.
The idea is consistent either I dislike my life and I want yours, or I dislike and don’t understand you, or some combination. Through some freak incident the characters are forced to spend time living in the other’s body until they have demonstrated that they have learned the intended valuable life lessons now have a greater appreciation for their own lives and the lives of others.
We don’t need magical skulls, coin-op talking genie machines, stolen earrings or any of the other convoluted body switching devices to walk in another’s shoes. We don’t need to relive our teen years through the eyes of our children in order to gain an appreciation for our own lives. We just need to develop this little thing called empathy.
Without every leaving your body, you can understand the feelings, experience and perspective of another. All of the lessons of the body swapping story can be gained through simply listening, paying attention and seeking to understand the other person.