Posted on July 11, 2011
Thirtysomething, 24 Years Later
I’ve been caught up. Swept away to a world not too different from my own, watching Thirtysomething on Netflix has been my dirty little secret. The first taping of Thirtysomething was in 1987. So you’d think that something created so long ago, a silly sitcom would really not resonate with a thirty-year-old of today. You’d think our facebook, iphones and tech gadgets would make us somehow superior or at least different. We’d perhaps struggle with different world politics, a different economy, different family values. Has life really changed much in 24 years?
This year I turned double digit threes and can really identify with the clash between adulthood obligations and ideology that is unique to thirty-year-olds for generations now. It’s kind of a middle place, a waiting place. I feel the adulthood angst carried with me everywhere I go. Thirty is the age when you realize, you are not really that special (if you are lucky, your parents or spouse still think you are). You didn’t marry Prince Charming, didn’t solve world hunger, didn’t make millions on Wall Street. Thirty is a mediocre age where you accept you are just one of many people trying to live your life avoiding trauma. Watching Thirtysomething I identify with the Steadmans who work hard to balance their careers while raising a family under the roof of a decrepit house. I identify with Eylln who cautiously navigates her relationship with her parents who recently divorced. Or there is Melissa who spends more time hiding behind the camera rather than making connections because it’s safer. And I identify with Gary who wants to make the world a better place but doesn’t know where to begin. These characters are so much like my friends and me with the same obstacles and joys that the dated 80’s style become as invisible as the Emperor’s New Clothes (well almost. I still can’t get over that Elliot a grown man, wears large decorative pins on his suit coats, very strange indeed).
Watching Thirtysomething I don’t feel so alone feeling unsure. I am reminded that everyone is plugging away at their journey, not really understanding where they will be taken next. I’m comforted that although my real life Thirtysomething friends have very different lives; we are able to learn from one another and share our life experiences. And thanks to fictional Thirtysomething, I realize it doesn’t matter what era you were born in (or if you wore hideous pins or feathered bangs) the destination is not what is important. It’s the journey that makes life worth living.