Usually when I see a movie, I identify with the heroine. After all, I think that’s what we’re supposed to do. I put myself in their shoes and I get to live a life other than my own for a little while. Ah . . . wonderful escapism!
The only problem is, it’s getting harder and harder to do that lately especially since so many of the leading ladies would more accurately be described as “leading girls!”
You see, I recently had my 35th birthday. (Yikes!) And though that is not terribly old, it is old enough. When I re-watched the Twilight saga last week, I felt old. How could I identify with Kristen Stewart and her high school character Bella? The same goes for my favorite tv show “Vampire Diaries.” My experience as a high schooler was a decade and a half ago. Trying to put myself in Elena Gilbert’s shoes, again, just makes me feel old.
Then this weekend I took my daughter to see “Mirror, Mirror.” I knew something was wrong when I found myself identifying with Julia Roberts and the evil queen far more than with the lovely young Snow White. I have landed square in the middle of the land of Middle Age, and I don’t like it one bit!
I never thought that growing older would really bother me. I remember when my mom had one of her milestone birthdays she told me how hard it was for her. I remember thinking at the time that I wouldn’t feel the same when my turn came around. It just didn’t seem like a very big deal to me. I mean, I took for granted that I would be where I wanted to be at that age and so long as I was living my dreams, who cared about the odd wrinkle or two?
Silly me! I think I must have tempted fate with that thought!
I was pretty much sideswiped this birthday. I simply didn’t see it coming. It started to hit a full month before the day itself. I seemed hyper aware of every little laugh line and every extra pound that the last ten years have given to me. I caught myself staring in the mirror trying to imagine my youth leaving me behind. What would I look like with wrinkles? When would I start to look seriously old? I found myself cringing at the very idea.
I never considered myself an overly vain woman. I never went through the silly nightly regimes that most girls do: washing your face, facial mask, rinsing, special night time moisturizer, etc., etc.. I never even went to a salon to get my hair highlighted. A simple box kit was fine with me. I found such things silly and frivolous.
But, as that birthday inched closer, I found out just how vain I really am. My looks mattered to me. I had taken them for granted most of my life. I was lucky. I had a clear complexion, great hair and until kids, a figure that I was content with. I didn’t spare a lot of thought on it, but it did matter.
And now, as I stared at the complexion that was suddenly giving me problems and skin that needed to be babied to keep it looking fresh, as I confronted the reality that the baby weight wasn’t just going to disappear all on its own, and even if I did manage to lose it, the very stark reality that I would never look like I looked at 25, well, I felt sucker punched. It sucked!
What bothered me the most though, was just how much it mattered to me. I wasn’t supposed to care about such superficial things. I was supposed to grow old gracefully, content with a life well lived. I was supposed to live each season of my life to the fullest, not look at the future with dread because I was going to be old someday. Geesh! Out of a world full of worries, how could this be causing such a crisis?!
Sadly, this aging thing is a whole lot harder than I ever would have guessed and I don’t like it one bit. And the fact that it bothers me this much . . . well, I can’t say that I’m proud of myself. I thought I was deeper than that. Instead, all of a sudden I feel like the Evil Queen looking on the Snow Whites of the world with envy. It’s bad enough to be vain at any age, but to be OLD and vain . . . there is something terribly pathetic about that. Sigh. Not quite sure what to do about that!
And to make matters worse, Hollywood seems determined to throw it in our faces over and over again this year. Three Snow White movies in the same year?! Geesh! Okay! Okay already! My Snow White days are over. I get it!
Now if I can only find somewhere in between Snow White and the evil queen . . . I think we need some more middle aged heroines if you ask me! 🙂