English: Meryl Streep on the 56th International Film Festival in San Sebastian (Spain). Own work by uploader User:PhotoTakeReality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Substance abuse is on the rise with baby boomers for lots of reasons.
Baby boomers are being diagnosed for depression at an increasing rate.
The suicide rate increases thanks to baby boomers.
What could be causing all of these negative statistics? There are probably lots of reasons, but for baby boomers especially--now is the time to focus on the relationships that are most important to you.
I was thinking about all of this as we went to see the movie "Hope Springs" with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. No doubt, it was written exactly for the baby boomer generation. It was a small movie theater and as we were walking out, we knew about everyone. We were all laughing about how we were all there to renew our relationship and how the movie is definitely a conversation starter. We went with some friends and afterwards we went to get something to eat and process the movie. We have been married 30 years this year and the other couple 25 years.
If you see this movie, it has to open up topics for conversation. While I thought it was going to be light, I found it to be an honest look at how life changes, how people change--or not change, and how if we stay the same people--things can change around us.
This blog post is not a movie review as much as it is about the questions and topics on which the movie addresses:
- It is easy to get in a rut doing the same thing over and over again.
- It is easy to take your significant other for granted after years of being together.
- It is possible to be lonelier together than alone.
- It takes work to make a relationship interesting and exciting.
- It takes two--it is not one person's fault.
- and the list goes on ...
There was a scene in the movie that struck me where Meryl's character says something such as:
"We are always looking forward to something. We look forward to getting married and then we look forward to having children. Then we look forward to raising them and helping them get into college. We look forward to them getting married and having kids. But what are we looking forward to now?"
We have to keep looking forward to something interesting and it is nice when you have a partner in this adventure of life. We need to look forward to today and tomorrow. The future does not have to be farther than tomorrow.
I think it would be hard to see the movie with your significant other and NOT want to talk about some of the topics. The movie serves as a catalyst for opening up communication channels.
We also talked about how Meryl Streep has continued to evolve as she gets older. We concluded she gets great roles not only because she is a great actress, but she is willing to be vulnerable and take parts that are age appropriate. She doesn't mind looking middle aged or even elderly as she did in "Iron Lady" as Margaret Thatcher.
The movie reminded me of when I was single and an older co-worker (probably about 40) shared this story with me. She said that a friend of hers had a husband who made his own lunch every day that consisted of a bologna sandwich. She got so tired of him making that sandwich (which was indicative of how much of a routine guy he was and not spontaneous) that she said to him, "If you make one more bologna sandwich, I am going to divorce you." According to this co-worker, he made the sandwich and they got divorced.
I remember thinking at the time, "This is crazy!" But I remembered the story and shared it with my husband years ago. So when he tends to get too routine, I remind him of the bologna sandwich. When this happens, I call him Mr. Bologna Sandwich. And when I get too overextended and disorganized, he calls me on it and tells me to "get it together."
In my opinion, the bottom line is this: Relationships take work.
The director, David Frankl, said the issues about sex are delicate yet universal. "Nobody thinks they're having enough sex--that goes for teenagers and people in their 70s." The movie is really about intimacy and how to keep it alive after decades of living with someone. When you can predict what they will say and do, it does not seem as exciting.
So what do we do about that?
I read an interview with Meryl Streep about the movie and she said this:
I think life is long, and there are a lot of phases you go through as a human being. You live through all sorts of stuff when you're in a long marriage: real highs and lows, and thing that strain--and solidify--your relationship. Often it's hard to see each other new each day, and sometimes it's good to encourage that.
While the stage of infatuation might be more exciting when meeting someone new, this person has "baggage" too that you just don't know about yet. Knowing someone for a long time that you trust is a gift.
The movie had me laughing and I had tears in some parts. I especially loved the end as the credits were running.
What do you do to keep life exciting?
Are you stuck in a rut? If so, what are you going to do to get out of it?
What advice were you give to Meryl's character? Tommy Lee Jones' character?
Have you ever thought about renewing your vows? I have.