Nancy Meyers and Thirtysomethings

I’ve been reading a few interviews with the female film director Nancy Meyers lately, mainly because her new film, The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, has been getting a lot of publicity. She has some very interesting thoughts on being a thirtysomething in today’s world.

If you’ve seen a Nancy Meyers movie (Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated, The Intern, to name a few), chances are you’ve drooled over the lush interiors of her characters’ homes. They’re always so cozy, well-appointed, and warmly lit, that you just want to plop down on one of those beautiful couches with a glass of wine and a thick novel. See below. I mean, WHO wouldn’t want to live in these worlds?

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I aspire to get to a point in my financial life where I can live in a home and environment like these when I’m in my 60s. Apparently, there’s a lot of young women in their 20s and 30s who feel the same way. So much so that a group of women recently had a Nancy Meyers themed bachelorette party – complete with turtlenecks, glasses and roast chicken. In a recent NY Magazine article, Meyers talked about that bachelorette party and why she thinks her work resonates with younger women in our generation:

I think it’s because they see a really super-functioning, confident woman who’s made a life for herself, who bought herself this house. And they’re all starting their careers, and I think they must look ahead and say, “Yeah, I like that for my future.” And she’s a divorced woman, but she’s not an unhappy divorced woman. The women in my movies are not seeking romance. It happens when they’re not looking for it.

I really liked that quote, especially that last part. Romance seems to be a by-product of going after and living the life you want. In the article, Meyers also had some interesting thoughts about thirtysomething men in this day and age. She was talking about the difference between Robert DeNiro’s character in The Intern, a 70-somethign year old man who goes back to intern for Anne Hathaway’s company, and millennial men today. She says:

Well, the difference between this man and the millennials. I’ve seen it in my own life. I see guys in their mid-30s with their little boys, and they’re wearing the exact same outfit. They’ll wear like the same T-shirt, same kind of shorts, same sneakers, and I just remember when men didn’t dress like their 4-year-olds.

When my kids were growing up, they had Take Your Daughter to Work Day. It didn’t cross my mind that there was no Take Your Son to Work Day, because it was expected the men will grow up and go to work. I think my generation, brought up by Oprah Winfrey, really got behind girls in a great way, and I think the boys … the line in the movie is “Well, maybe they didn’t get left behind, but you know, there’s definitely some kind of gap.” I’m not talking about all men, of course. But I don’t think the Peter Pan quality is something women want in their men, that’s for sure.

What do you think? I definitely have noticed that a lot of men have that Peter Pan quality. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, but I do agree with Meyers in that many women don’t want that in their men. I haven’t seen The Intern yet, but I hope to check it out this weekend.

The more interviews I read with Meyers, the more she’s becoming my role model in this industry.

Something, Anything: A Gem of a Netflix Find

The other day I was scrolling through Netflix when I saw a film titled Something, Anything. It was described as: When tragedy shatters a Southern newlywed’s plans for domestic bliss, she leaves her husband and begins a journey of self-discovery.

It sounded like it could be a great Eat, Pray, Love situation (the book, not the movie) and I knew I could get down with that, especially since I’m going through a breakup right now. I’m voraciously intaking any culture and media that’s about self-discovery and fresh starts. Anyway, I start watching.

In the first ten minutes of the movie, we see a gorgeous woman in her late 20s/early 30s who is following the life script so many of us women (and men too, I suppose) have been fed. It begins when her boyfriend proposes with a fancy diamond ring, then they plan their lush wedding, picking out items at some fancy home good store for their registry, and finally, they get pregnant. I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but let’s just say, there’s a rub in their plan.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Through a series of small encounters, the woman decides to pursue a more spiritual life, eventually entertaining the idea of perhaps becoming a monk at a monastery in Kentucky. She sells her car and all of her belongings, and heads out into the great unknown of life.

I haven’t seen many films about a woman’s spiritual journey that isn’t inspired by a man – be it from a breakup, unrequited love, etc. so this film was a refreshing, ambitious treat. As a caveat, I did find some flaws with the movie that were a bit distracting – namely it looked like the lead actress was wearing a wig the entire time and it drove me crazy. Unless people really do have hair that perfect. Who knows!

You can watch the trailer below. I’d highly recommend this movie, because how often do you see films about 30-something women ambitiously going “off-script” and doing something unconventional?

How Much Have You Forgotten By Your Thirties?

I finally saw Inside Out tonight. It’s a movie that all of my favorite people have been raving about and begging me to go see. I’d only heard amazing things about it, and Jane even mentioned and exalted it in her last post, Shake It Up, Mix It Together, and Reassemble. The movie was as good as everyone said it would be- in fact, I think it was even better than all the hype. It has become my absolute favorite Pixar movie.

Warning: Inside Out spoiler alert ahead…stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie…and go see it.

There were quite a few moments in the movie that left me in tears..sometimes happy ones and sometimes really sad ones. One of the saddest moments for me was the disappearance of the protagonist, Riley’s, imaginary friend, Bing Bong. This imaginary friend was walking with another character, Joy, through the land of forgotten memories, and while he was there, he started to fade. First he lost a piece of hand, and then an arm, and then, in a moment of sacrifice, he let himself stay in forgotten memory land and fade away completely in order to let Joy escape.

When Bing Bong faded away, I lost it. I started weeping uncontrollably once Bing Bong was gone, even though I kind of saw it coming. And I saw it coming because I couldn’t remember my imaginary friend. Maybe I never even had one. Or maybe I forgot him or her. But it didn’t matter because that memory was gone. And so were many other memories from my childhood.

There’s so much we remember, and so much that fades. At this point we have 30-something years of memories. I realized recently that many of the memories I have repeat themselves over and over. The others are simply gone. It feels like such a shame to lose so much time but I guess that’s essentially part of the process of growing up. And we never stop growing up. Just because we’re already adults doesn’t mean that the growing up stops. It just keeps going and evolving. And fading.

As much as I uselessly grieved tonight over lost memories I can never get back, I was grateful for the ones I still have and for the present moment, where I can experience new things that aren’t gone or only memories yet. The disappearance of most memories is a darn good reason to try even harder to appreciate the present moment and to stay in the now- if you don’t grab onto the moment as it happens, you won’t ever experience it again and you may not even remember that it existed at all.

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Horror of the Day

I’ve lost my tolerance for scary movies. When I was a kid, I used to laugh at friends who covered their eyes when zombies popped out of closets. I was fascinated by the psycho clown that lived in the sewer system. Haunted hotels were intriguing to me, as was time traveling pursued by monsters, or ghostly hitchhikers, or possessed televisions and children of the corn.

Sometime slightly after college, I started to have nightmares following a scary movie binge. I became worried about pale dead hands reaching out from under a bed to grab my leg. I checked the bathtub and closet to make sure they were empty before going to sleep. Hotels, places I consider my home almost half the year, started to make me look twice around corners- I thought of bloody twins beckoning from the ends of long hallways: ‘come and play with us.’

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So I stopped watching scary movies. Letting these types of films into my psyche always seems to cause lasting fear (at least for a few days). I’ve been abstaining for years. Even when previews for horror films enter my sight, I attempt to look away, and especially to cover my ears. I’ve found that the sound is actually the scariest part of a movie- not the visual, as you’d expect.

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Once I started avoiding those movies, I became less scared in general. I was no longer very worried about dark hallways or creaky hotels or desolate alleyways. I mean, I have a healthy sense of danger avoidance, but thoughts of ghosts, monsters, and serial killers with chainsaws enter my mind much less often. Although I know it’s healthy to face your fears, I think there are times you can avoid them entirely. Yes, scary feelings are to be faced, but scary movies are absolutely avoidable. In fact, I’ve faced my scary feelings by cutting scary movies out of my life. I think that counts.

It’s sometimes hard to know what we should let into our minds and what we should keep out.  Last night, I watched the pilot of a new show, Penny Dreadful, not realizing that it was a horror show. I wasn’t really scared in the moment, so I kept watching. But last night I woke up from a dream about someone cutting out my stomach and watching turtles hatch and crawl out of it. Yeah, I don’t really need dreams like that in my life.


Laura comes to LA

It’s Laura’s final night visiting me in LA, and it’s been a really fun couple of days! We’ve been doing a lot of eating, talking and wandering. Since I moved to LA about fifteen months ago, she’s come to stay with me twice. BOTH times it has rained consecutively for several days straight. For those of you that don’t know SoCal weather, that’s odd for LA. One day of rain is somewhat normal, but not several days in a row.

We’ve made the best of the crappy weather though. I introduced Laura to my favorite TV show, Nathan For You on Comedy Central, and today we went to see the movie Wild, about the woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail to deal with her grief from the death of her mother. (FYI, it’s amazing and we left the theater sobbing, dying for a life-changing camping trip in the woods.)

While we were on the bus earlier this week, we started talking about our 30’s, and we agreed on one major thing. While this decade definitely has left us feeling uncertain about our futures, the truth is, that as we grow older, we keep feeling better about ourselves and our experiences in the world. This is not to say life somehow gets easier, in fact, it absolutely gets harder – we have more responsibilities and more challenges, but still, life feels better. You go through tough situations but discover that you’re still standing after each one, having grown into a more flexible person than before.

The key thing is that you don’t fear things as much. You’ve seen enough to let the fear dissipate a little. You can deal with it.

There’s a gorgeous quote from the Cheryl Strayed book Wild, on which the movie was based, that I feel like is appropriate to growing older in your thirties:

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Here’s to us all getting stronger every day in our thirty-something journey!

Here are some pictures from our public Transit experiences in LA. And yes, taking the bus is possible, if hard, in this city.

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