Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Woes of Growing Old...

I think I'm getting old. This is a redundant statement really because even as I started typing this, I'm already older than I was when I typed the first word.

I don't necessarily mean in age. I mean that I'm getting old as in just being. I know you're really only as old as you think you are but that's not really what I mean, either.

What I mean is hard to describe. It's not an age thing, measurable in years. It's more just a state of existence, more who you are, what you do and what you like.

For example, we all go through phases. In my childhood, I went through phases such as wanting a pony more than anything else in life, wanting to be in a pantomime because the one I saw on my seventh birthday was the most exciting thing I'd ever seen and wanting to be a gymnast even though physics, heridity and lack of balance were all against me.

In my teens, I went through a heavy metal stage, an Andrew Lloyd Webber stage, a Stephen King stage.

In my twenties, I went through a theatre stage, a passionate love of the movies that led to my attempts at being a screenwriter and an Anne Rice stage.

You get the idea. Each decade of my life meant I was older. My interests naturally evolved to help define who I was at that moment in time. They grew a little more mature as the days went by though most likely by someone else's standards, my interests were always (and probably still are) slightly immature in some ways. I mean, I did go through a passionate devotion to Green Day in my late 20's/early thirties. I still like Green Day.

Yet I no longer have that burning desire to have Green Day help define who I am. It's strange. One day it was there, one day it wasn't. I don't know why it went away or even what made it go away, it just did. It was suddenly replaced by a weird and inexplicable desire to listen to Top 40 music and discover that Lady GaGa is quite an artist, Katy Perry is horribly catchy and that I wouldn't mind if Jason Mraz followed me around and sang to me all day long.

The only constant in my life that has been there since my 20's is Harry Potter. Since I first read the books, I've been a captive fan. I love the movies. I collect Harry Potter stuff, specifically featuring the illustrations from the books rather than movie themed stuff but I'm not horribly picky.

I can't wait to see the movie that opens tonight at midnight. I've been counting down for months. I know it's going to be good. I know I'm going to be frustrated that I have to wait another six months to see Part 2 of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." I don't care. I can't wait to see the movie.

I just don't want to see it at midnight. Hence the fact...I'm getting old.

A few years ago, I would have been there at midnight if I had friends who wanted to see it. I mean, I was at Borders for the midnight release of the last book in the series. Nowadays...I just don't want to and that, I fear, makes me old.

No longer do I have that happy-go-lucky, "I don't care if I have to work tomorrow!" attitude that I used to have. Instead, I know that even if I did drag my 35-year-old bones to the movies, it'd be a waste of my $12. You see, I could wait in line. I'd get in and sit down. Then I'd get tired. I might force myself to stay awake but I know that if I did, I'd be so focused on not falling asleep, I wouldn't take in the movie. I might manage to watch it but, at best, I reckon I'd probably catch maybe 85% of it and miss 15% by a) trying not to doze off, b) getting distracted by the fact that I had to be at work in a few short hours or c) being worried that I left the puppies home alone and hoping they'd be ok.

I know, I what? There's only a midnight opening once, right? I can always go see it again if I did miss some or fall asleep.

The thing is, I don't want to do that. For one thing, even matinees these days are almost $9. For another thing, Harry Potter is very important to me. I love to see the movies and get lost in them. I love the thrill of knowing even as I sit in my seat at the theatre, I'm about to have over two hours of pure enjoyment that is all mine. As a child, I felt that way any time I was lucky enough to go to the cinema. It was this almost breathless thrill of excitement that arose in me as soon as the lights went down. I was going to escape from my seat and get lost in the screen in front of me.

Nowadays, I rarely have that feeling. I do, however, always have it with Harry Potter movies.

I don't want to not have that. You only have it once and that's the first time you get to see the movie in the theatre. You can try to recapture that the second time or even the third time but the magic is just not the same. It's like having a chocolate chip or shortbread cookie that's still warm from the oven. The gooey warmth is only there when they come out of the oven. Afterwards, they're still good but that comfy, homey warmth of that sweet disc of goodness is gone. Even if you put it in the microwave, it's not quite the same.

I know I'm being slightly dramatic about Harry Potter. It's just something special and important to me. When you're a thirty-something singleton who lives alone with two adorable puppies, you cling on to things like Harry Potter. It makes like that little more special.

So, I won't be seeing it at midnight tonight. That makes me feel old.

I know people who do still go to midnight showings- several friends who are scattered around the U.S. will be waiting in line at midnight in their various time zones, waiting for that Warner Brothers logo to appear on the screen and for the Harry Potter experience to begin.

I admire them because they can still do it. They can overcome that old person mentality and not care about being tired tomorrow.

Whereas me...I know I wouldn't make it through the movie without falling asleep.

So, instead, I'm going to wait until Saturday. I'll make it into a Harry Potter day and I'll enjoy the movie while the sun is still shining outside. I won't be in a theatre with devotees of the movie like I would be if I went at midnight.

But at least I'll be awake and I'll enjoy every minute.

Oh, I'm getting old.

Happy Friday! (and enjoy Harry Potter if you're seeing it tonight/this weekend!)

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