“If you aren’t happy with the result . . .

. . . it means we are not done yet.”

I’m paraphrasing a sentiment from a recent movie, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011). As much as I’ve read quite a collection of books on aging and mid-life change over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed there is a growing list of movies designed for this same population.

Here is a list of five movies I’ve seen with story lines about people who are all in their middle years or older:

  1. The Bucket List (2007), Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson
  2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, . . .
  3. Love Punch (2013)  Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson
  4. Last Vegas (2013) Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline
  5. Begin Again (2013) Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightly

What all these movies have in common is that the main characters are aging and each of them must find a way to deal with the changes aging brings. Some characters handle the circumstances of age by fighting it or denying it. They run from age and getting older and wind up learning that you can’t deny or avoid the truth. Age is what it is. You can run in fear or you can try to live where you’re at and accept yourself and your place in this world and find joy in that.

Other characters find themselves in mid-life with grown children or even grandchildren and seem somehow surprised that 20, 30, or 40 years have flown by and seem to be asking themselves, “what happened . . . to my youth?”

Something that I like about the variety of characters and story lines contained in these movies is that I get a sense that the writers are taking more time to explore this idea of aging. Certainly there are people out there who are just plain angry they can’t do what they used to do the way they used to do it. But there is more to aging than a single emotion.

I’m no fan of my own personal mid-life “spread” — right through my middle. I can’t ride a bike as far or swim as long as I used to when I was 20 years younger. But I still enjoy riding and swimming. I feel like that’s maybe a little bit of what’s going on in these movies too.

These people find themselves in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s and just like when they were younger, they’re still just trying to figure life out, find their way a little bit at a time.  Just because we’re older and have more life experience doesn’t mean we’ve got it all figured out. We don’t. But we do have a few more things figured out than we did when we were 20.

What trends in other media do you see? Have authors or magazines developed in a new direction as you’ve followed their work over time? Has a favorite singer or song writer come out with a new album that features a new point in their life?

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