Today’s guest post is an interesting and fun reflection from a 20-something (27 to be precise) on the movie This is 40, Judd Apatow’s follow up to Knocked Up that follows the lives of a suburban couple turning 40 and struggling to reconcile the lives they have with their perception of themselves. This Is 40 / 27 is author Heather Sundell‘s take on how the movie made her feel about being a 20-something nearing thirty and her speculatiorn on the simiilarities to what it feels like to turn forty. Would love to hear from any 40-somethings who have seen the movie on how they felt it reflected 40. Enjoy!
This Is 40/27
Last week I dragged my boyfriend to see “This Is 40,” mostly because it felt like a “go to the movies” kind of night, and my father has guilt tripped me into waiting to see “Django: Unchained” with him. I had to pick a movie, and this felt like a situation where I wouldn’t have to think too hard. Aside from it being about a half hour too long, and completely self-indulgent with jokes that derailed the plot, I enjoyed the film.
However, this isn’t a review of the film, but a commentary on the theme. What struck me the most, besides the hotness of my beloved long-time crush Paul Rudd, was the depicted transitional period from late thirties into the forties. In a sense, it felt a lot like the HBO hit GIRLS, which is truly no surprise with Judd Apatow being the common denominator. What GIRLS does for us twenty-somethings, This Is 40 does for forty somethings: Validate our confusion, concern, and growing pains.
As a twenty-seven year old, I was surprised at how deeply I identified with the plight of the 40 year old finding her footing. I suppose I’d never thought about different stages of adulthood too much. So far, my main concern has been trying to make it to the outskirts of adulthood relatively unscathed. Anything beyond that is a nebulous cloud we’ll call, “The Future.” This place holds a husband, house, kids, money…and other stuff I can’t imagine as I type this from the couch in my one-bedroom apartment watching a marathon of shit on Bravo. How could I have anything in common with the ever lovely Leslie Mann, let alone her character in the film?
People in the twenties are flopping around like puppies, patiently waiting for it all to fall into place (ahem, still waiting!). But according to the movie, that feeling apparently never ends, it just evolves.
When twenty-somethings think about older and wiser forty year olds, it’s assumed that they have had enough time to marinate in adulthood to have it together. But, this movie has made it clear that nothing ever truly falls into place the way you think/hope it will. And even if it does for a little while, you’ll still reach a point where you wonder what it all means, and where you’re headed next.
It’s interesting to consider that growing pains don’t ever go away; they just go dormant for periods of time. I totally related to Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd’s characters struggling for relevancy and coolness as they clung to their youth. It’s hard to turn forty when you don’t FEEL forty. You don’t look or feel anything like your mother, which is what you always thought it would look like, right? Maybe I’m speculating, but dude, I get it. Throwing Megan Fox into the mix as the hot twenty-something with the perky boobs made it all too clear.
I feel those funny feelings too ladies. Don’t let nostalgia cloud your hindsight into thinking the twenty-something years were a series of one-night stands, parties, shopping, and sunrises. It’s a weird, confusing time that only gets scarier as you get older and can’t hide behind youthful naiveté. As I become more sure of myself and the direction I’m going, I still feel conflicted. I’m on the edge of something new, but I’m not ready to give up my old early twenty-something ways. My Megan Fox is around me in the form of twenty-two year olds uncertainly lurking at the bar ordering Blueberry Stoli and Sodas. I am so envious of those girls and the opportunities ahead of them. I’m jealous of all the stupid mistakes they’re making, and the capacity they hold for bullshit.
Yet, I don’t want to be twenty-two. I don’t want to go back to making weird decisions, wasting money, living in the moment in the bad kind of way, and especially not having any real direction. But at the same time, I don’t know if I’m ready for the white picket fence, doing a dude’s laundry, committing to a career, or being responsible for another human life. I’m stuck in the middle, not going back, but definitely taking my time moving forward.
It made complete sense that forty would be just as transitional a period as the one I’m experiencing. The characters in This is 40 didn’t feel as lost or reckless as someone in their twenties, but they were certainly not old farts. That seems like a hard limbo to hang out in until retirement or grandkids come around. But, it also seems like the best time ever. Making money and young enough to enjoy it? I can’t wait!
As a twenty-seven year old, I keep thinking, “Now what?” According to this movie, It seems like in ten years I’ll be wondering, “Okay, NOW what?” in a completely different way. I’m scared of growing up and moving forward, but apparently so are people turning forty. It’s both comforting and stomach pit inducing to realize that we’re not the only ones feeling this way. I have to go through this weird puberty-like state again in ten years? Oy.
Thank you Heather !! 40-somethings, what do you have to tell Heather about turning 40? Is the fear warranted? I find that the world still flops but my center of gravity has gotten stronger to keep me grounded!
About the Author – Heather Sundell
Heather is a Los Angeles based writer, social media mistress, snacker, and aspiring adult. By day she practices PR and marketing, and by night watches a lot of TV, eats dip, writes, and wonders why being in your twenties is so damn strange. She can be found all over the webs writing about love, tech, and growing up. You can read more of her her awkward twenty-something stories at Terrible-Twenties.com, and follow@MissHezah to find out what she spilled on herself today.