You're How Old?!?!
The other day as I was flipping through one of my favorite celebrity magazines, I found myself paying unusually close attention to several actresses I admire. Julia Roberts, 41. Courtney Cox, 45. Halle Berry, 43. Jennifer Lopez, 40. Demi Moore, 46. “Damn, that’s old,” I thought before the stunning realization, “Wait a minute! They’re my age!!”
You see, I don’t feel 40 (let’s just leave it at that, shall we). I barely feel over 30 though admittedly I’m using a lot more hand cream than I used to. My younger daughter tells everyone I’m 17 – a deal we worked out at the start of the summer. She takes care of me. I take care of her. We both win.
The numbers seem so arbitrary and yet they are powerful. 40-something means friends I’ve known since Kindergarten are watching parents and siblings and spouses die. 40-something means friends from high school are getting divorced for the second or third time. 40-something means life doesn’t always go according to plan and that it’s best to have more than one plan.
Back in college, I remember sitting in the common room of my dorm riveted to thirtysomething, the brutally honest TV series about marriage, careers, choice and change. In the late ’80’s, the characters seemed so grown-up, so far away and definitely much older than me.
Michael and Hope Steadman, eternally gorgeous and in love, had it all-- at least in the beginning. Gary, the sandy-haired professor, attainable to only the coolest college co-eds, would forever remain my unrequited crush. And I never understood-–despite the awful hair--why Ellyn and Melissa had so much trouble with men.
Looking back, it was Elliot and Nancy who frightened me most. They seemed so real. He didn’t want to grow up. She’d lost her identity in the mind-numbing minutiae of dirty-dishes and laundry. They were honest and imperfect and searching for meaning, not yet ready to give up the inner-life and longings of their youth.
I think that’s why I liked the series. It was like looking down the road into the future, tangible yet uncertain. I was a generation or two younger but the issues seemed familiar — love, loss, trust, ambition, dreams lived and dreams deferred.Continued on the next page