Did I watch Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century again recently? Yes.
As a grown adult do I still kind of want to be Zenon? Yes.
And are there actually some good career development lessons from Zenon? Also, weirdly, yes.
Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century Recap
If you were a teenage girl in 1999 then you will remember Zenon. Or if you were a 11-year-old boy with an older sister, you will remember Zenon. Or if you were a parent to a teenage girl in 1999 you will remember Zenon. Because your daughter COULD NOT stop talking about Zenon.
Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century was a Disney Channel Original Movie (a la Brink, Smart House, Cadet Kelly, and High School Musical). It was set in 2049, which at the time seemed like a million years away. Now it’s a date I see frequently when I adjust my retirement portfolio. Hold on a sec while I go take my Centrum Silver.
The plot is pretty standard. Zenon lives on a space station orbiting earth with her scientist parents and wears a lot of lycra. When the businessman funding the space station tries to secretly destroy it to get the insurance money, Zenon has to come up with a plan to stop him and save her family.
Oh and she gets sent down to Earth to live with her aunt midway through the movie because she got in trouble for going into a restricted zone/ being an exceptional judge of character. So she has to come up with her plan to save the space station while stranded on Earth.
Zetus Lapetus what is going to happen??
Zenon is #Goals
Spoiler Alert! It all works out okay! At the very last second!
Because of course it did. Not just because it was Disney movie but because Zenon was just the best. Stellarnarious major, if you will. In fact, at the time Zenon was everything I wanted to be and the fact that I wasn’t her was downright devastating.
I don’t think I’m alone in this either. Let’s run through some of this character’s attributes that crushed all of my teenage self esteem:
- Confidence major
- Fear minor
- Acne free
- She probably got invisalign instead of braces.
- Killer hair styles for dayssssss
- Cool clothes that didn’t hit her at the calf because she hadn’t gone through a freakish 8th grade growth spurt that left her towering over her peers
- A deep personal connection with her favorite rock band
- The ability to come up with witty come backs at the drop of a dime and never once have to sit up in her bed at 2:00am and say “Gah! I should have told her I wanted to wear her face as a mask to have a hideous major costume! I better overthink this for the next 3 hours…”
- Total freedom to roam around a space ship sans adult supervision.
PLUS, she walks onto the planet and in two seconds a boy (who was just the DREAMIEST) falls head over heels for her.
At 14 I had been writing I <3 [Insert series of initials here] on notebooks for years and no one was taking me horseback riding or out to get onion rings…
She Predicted the Dang Future!
To top it all off, Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century predicted the future. Her character basically set in motion the technological innovations and trends for years to come. Watch it again and you’ll be blown away by the accuracy. Some examples:
- They communicated via FaceTime – But I actually like the “Data Zap” name even better.
- TVs had 700 channels but you still couldn’t find what you wanted to watch.
- Words were all abbreviated because saying full words is so last century, i.e. “Space Sta”
- Her friends could hack computers like it was NBD.
- Need a ride late at night? Hop in your driverless car – Sure they aren’t in our garages yet, but they do exist now. And I’m very excited about sleeping through my commute at some point in my life.
- Without Zenon would we even be wearing vibrant leggings? LuLaRoe, eat your heart out.
I can’t even be sure that there aren’t other things she accurately predicted because it is only 2018.
Maybe we will have people living on a space station in 2049. Perhaps Sugar Ray will have a grandson that grows up to be Prota Zoa. Or the name Margie will become popular again but everyone with that name will be just the worst. Time will tell. But if I know Zenon, and I think I do, my grandkids are for sure going to be taught by holograms.
I’m very jealous of her trendsetting and predictive abilities. This is severely lacking in my life. For proof, see my already busted Bachelor Bracket. That’s the last time I pick all the women over 30… Thanks for nothing, Arie…
Creating a Stellarnarious Life
So in any case, here I am at 32 years old, and my life is pretty great. I have a wonderful husband, two awesome kids, a great job, and a mortgage with a low-interest rate. I also get to eat ice cream whenever I want, as long as I take my Lactaid pills.
But I’d be lying if I said I don’t still think about Zenon sometimes.
Not that I need a boy in an oversized short sleeve button-down to buy me dinner, but I wouldn’t mind being the kind of fearless person that goes on solo spacewalks. Or live every day with the kind of self-confidence that says “Well, of course, I’ll win that dance with Prota Zoa. Have you seen my art?” You put yourself together a pretty solid role model there, Disney. For kids and adults.
Zenon, Grown Woman of the 21st Century
I also can’t help but think about Zenon from career sweet spot perspective.
Zenon saw a problem, and she found a creative way to solve it. She used her strengths (bravery and self-confidence) and passions (love of music and art) to her best advantage and created value for others (saving the entire space station!)
That’s the career sweet spot right there!
I’ll keep working on my Zenoniness. And might even be her for Halloween now that I think about it… But for now, I’ll leave you with this. Because there’s no gravity between us, our love is automatic. And you’re my Super Nova Girl.
Zoom, zoom, zoom!
Need some Zenon in your life?
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