I recently had a moment alone, an occurrence that is becoming more frequent these days, and decided to randomly watch a movie that popped up on my digital doodad.
It was titled 20th Century Women.
I was curious about the movie having an older woman for a lead, and the reviews spoke well of it, so why not?
For context, I am deep in my 40s, and the children have become independent, my ex-husband is communicating out of respect, and I’m encouraged to find more things to do.
So when I was immersed in the lives of Dorothea, a single mother in her mid-50s raising the teenaged Jamie, and the gaggle of people who come and go in her great big house set in 1979, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic.
Of course, I was probably the age that the character of Elle Fanning was during that time, but angsty on a lesser scale.
The premise goes that Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women — Abbie, a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home and Julie, a savvy and provocative teenage neighbor, as she feels she isn’t ‘enough’ for Jamie.
Now when I say I saw myself in that movie, I am of course speaking about Dorothea, although I have a few more years to go before reaching the age she was in the movie.
I saw myself in her in that she was somewhat unsure of herself, what with all the rapid change going on around her and all these new people, with their new ideas and mentalities, all trying to tell her what to be and how to act.
As a woman of a certain age, this is relatable to me because on the one hand, you help to create the future, you shape the children who will be the movers and shakers; but then you come to the realization that you are becoming obsolete.
So as it was in our youth, we once again start experiencing the self-doubt and insecurity only briefly quelled (atleast for some) by the period wherein we took care of the children, where we were incharge.
But now, although no one is saying it out loud, my ways have become ‘old school’, and my attempts at connecting with the young adults of today are just considered ‘adorable’, although I am admitting it to you now that I am trying very, very hard.
It’s scary to feel left out, let me tell you; that feeling from being picked last for teams on the playground is still very real even as an adult, or the kind of adult my adult son says is an “adultier adult.”
In the movie, Dorothea reconnects with Jamie through a very drastic occurrence, which I am glad was needless in my real life, as the children are still interested in how I’m doing.
But that moment where she and Jamie exchange no words, only a brief acknowledgement that it would be okay even if it was just the two of them, brought me comfort as well.
I mean, how great is it to know that despite all your shortcomings, you are still enough of a person for the people who matter to you most?
And honestly, whether you are still young, or have a good decade or so before hitting senior citizenship, that feeling will resonate with you no matter what age.