Saw Young Adult today, which was maybe apropos, since it was my birthday. The thought of growing older seldom enters my mind. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I defy time or anything like that. I get older, maybe a little more careful about trying to live longer. Maybe I work out more, eat healthier, try to protect my joints. You know, maybe give a crap about my existence a lot more than I did when I was, say, 20.
It must be some sort of joke that the more life slips away from us, and the more it’s made harder to live inside a limited human form, the more precious it becomes. The more we want to hold onto it, believing on some level that impermanence doesn’t apply to us and that we’ll somehow escape becoming worm food.
Young Adult stars Charlize Theron, and was written by Diablo Cody. It features an unhappy main character, living in Minneapolis, who works as a ghostwriter for a series of YA novels. Though she’s been the popular cheerleader in high school, she’s almost like a ghost in her “real” life. So much so that she believes, after an empty hookup, that her high school boyfriend is her soul mate, and she has to go “rescue” him from his wife and recently born child.
By the film’s end the message is clear: all those people you thought were too lame to stick around for, the ones you thought you were better than? They may have lives that aren’t as flashy or exciting as yours. But they’ve moved on, grown up, had kids and settled down. Mavis, as played by Theron, hasn’t — not really. So whether she wins the guy or has a kid or moves out of the state doesn’t really matter. What does is that she looks at what she’s done, and how she treats herself on a daily basis, and decides to do one right thing right now. Which on the day of your birthday is something to think about.
Tomorrow, one more thing may be even more possible, and then one more. And again and again and again and again.