Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning in an outtake from the recent Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue cover
Some people have a knack with words, some don’t. When it comes to written words, I think I’m a bit of alright, but when it comes to spoken words… not so much. I’m that awkward one in a group who says things at the wrong time, or uses the wrong “funny” story to make a point. In the witty banter stakes, suffice to say I try, but I fail.
One friend of mine is the complete opposite; B is one of those people that come up with just the best expressions in the perfect moments. She has a way of generating these one-liners that perfectly encapsulate the sentiment of our whole discussion, and they’re always timed just right. It’s a skill, a skill I so epically lack.
One such expression she employed during a recent conversation about Elle Fanning, 18-year-old younger sister of Dakota Fanning. Impressive isn’t enough of a word to encapsulate this girl right now; she has a 32-strong list of quality film credits to her name, which she accumulated as she grew up – and continues to grow – from a child to amazing young woman in the public eye, doing so with class and style. She recently appeared amongst the film industry’s finest females on the coveted cover of Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue.
As I struggled on to vocalise my awe, B the expression queen said simply, “the girl is living her best life.” When talking about this expression since, I have learnt that it is not something unique to her, but a widely-known and much-used expression that I somehow hadn’t come across before. In explanation she has said, “It just describes perfectly someone killing it and enjoying the hell out of themselves in their own little specific way.” Preach.
I haven’t been able to get the expression out of my head since. Because yes, Elle Fanning is definitely living her best life, but really, why aren’t we all? Why should any of us be living anything but our best life? Of course we aren’t all movie stars, and for many of us we are limited by our circumstances, but to me, the idea of a girl living her best life, is making absolutely the most of what she has, no matter how much or how little. As B said, enjoying the hell out of ourselves in our own way.
So often I sit on Instagram and look with longing at these filtered lives and filtered girls I see on my screen and sigh, wishing I had what they had. Sure, they may be living their best life, but I shouldn’t be wishing that their best life is one that’s available to me. Because the fact is, I already have my own life, not better or worse, but my own. While we are busy focusing on the beautiful aspects of other people’s lives, we forget to look at the beautiful aspects in our own.
I have a life that brings me so much opportunity and joy and privileges… why am I looking at a different set of circumstances unrelated to me and wishing they were mine? Why am I not looking at my own and doing everything I possibly can to maximise their potential? Because no life in this world is devoid of potential; we all have the ability to make the most of what we are given, and rather than do that, we focus with envy outside of ourselves that will simply never be ours. What a waste of time.
I want to live my best life, every day, every moment. Not for others to look at my situation and think “wow, that girl is living her best life,” but because I want to look back on this all MYSELF one day and know in my heart of hearts that of all the lives I could have lived, I lived the best one within my reach. Starting today… and go!