Mid-life Crisis

June 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm (Rant)

We interrupt my regularly scheduled intellectual spouting to bring you my mid-life crisis.

First there was this: I snatched The Red Convertible off the new books display at the library because I love Louise Erdrich. I read the inside front cover, I skimmed the table of contents, I flipped to the inside back cover.


louiseI said, What the heck! That’s not Louise Erdrich. Louise Erdrich is young and dewy!

But, apparently not any more. That → is the Louise Erdrich who wrote The Blue Jay’s Dance.

And that ← is the Louise Erdrich who just published The Red Convertible and who dealt with Michael Dorris’ suicide and many children.

Then there was this. Remember Kelly McGillis?

Yes, I mean THIS ↓ Kelly McGillis from Top Gun. Or even THIS ↓ Kelly McGillis from Witness.

New Picture (1)2008_12_11HotAmishChick2

Now she is THIS ↓ Kelly McGillis


And remember Meggie Cleary of The Thorn Birds television special? I wanted to be Rachel Ward. She was so beautiful she corrupted a PRIEST. Or I most definitely would have been Rachel Ward in Against All Odds. I remember getting THIS ↓ haircut and buying an orange bathing suit in order to embody Rachel Ward in this movie. I had no interest in Beau Bridges, just wanted to look like Rachel Ward. Well, now she looks like this↓.



Then there is Kathleen Turner. Remember her in Body Heat?


Here she is today in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Which is all to make me feel better about this↓:


me bad 2

We are most definitely NOT going to talk about THIS↓:


Though I would be very glad to talk about THIS↓:


Know what I mean?



  1. Linda said,

    Ha! This is awesome, Maureen. Thank you for reminding us that we all age. It is a natural and wonderous thing. I have many before (young) and after (old) pics of myself too but you know what they don’t show? The wisdom and experience that has grown in my heart. We all share that. However, I happen to think you look beautiful in BOTH of your photos. And, unlike the retouched photos of some of those other lovely ladies, I have seen you in person and know that you really look like your photo. Adorable.

  2. Mary Lou said,

    It is somewhat amazing to me that these women are showing their age. I really don’t expect them to, I expect them to exist in that alternate reality where they stay just the same. Looking at the “used to be” and “now” is humbling–definitely for me. I can’t believe all the good years I wasted, thinking I was FAT. I didn’t know what fat WAS. (Now I do, sadly.)

    I am 46, almost 47, and I think I can definitively say: Midlife SUCKS.

  3. Liz in Virginia said,

    I freak myself out sometimes when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or in a photograph — I expect to see my twenty-five year old self.

    An interesting thing about all of these famous women you’ve shown us us that none of them appears to have had any obvious plastic surgery. That says something admirable about them, don’t you think? And it may be why their appearance is so shocking to us; we have become used to our famous people doing whatever it takes to seem youthful.

  4. Maureen said,

    Hi, my friends!
    Hi Linda!

    Linda – I am so in agreement. I would never want to go back to being that 24-year-old self. What a ninny I was! I sometimes revel in my kids’ awe at me: in their eyes I can fix anything, handle anything, know seemingly everything. I want that BODY back, but not that level of wisdom and experience.
    (And thank you for the compliment. Can I tell you that I have started wearing my denim jacket again after meeting you?)

  5. Maureen said,

    Hi Mary Lou!

    Truly, something definitive happens at age 40 (I am 43). The food doesn’t burn as fast, all the joints have been damaged such that I walk around like the Tin Man, and I have weeks of Cotton Head.

    May I just mention that in that recent photo of me I am a full 40 pounds heavier than I was when I graduated high school – same height. The Quarter Pounder? I am wearing a suit made of 160 of those.

    But, if Valerie Bertinelli can do it, can we? If someone offered me a million dollars to lose … 25 pounds … maybe I could. My book might be called Gaining It.

  6. Maureen said,

    Hi Liz –
    Oh, me too! I see me and think, “Who’s that?” I think because once we start having children, we only see THEIR faces. I only look in the mirror long enough each morning to do a little repair work and make sure I’m not going to scare anyone. “Is Mrs. Bartlett OK? Should we call 911? She looks like she is on death’s door.” I neutralize my visage and then don’t look again. Every time I enter a bathroom, I immediately take off my glasses so I can’t see the mirror and horrify myself.

    But, I gotta say – and I almost waxed philosophical in the post and then decided to just be silly – aren’t they all really still just beautiful? Louise Erdrich can’t NOT be gorgeous, and Kelly McGillis looks like she could take you down with one hand. I remember hearing that she pushed for being that strong woman in Top Gun instead of a fluff-ball. And Rachel Ward? Forget about it! She could be bald and 85 and still be among the world’s most beautiful. Kathleen Turner: If you have not caught her playing Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, DO.

    Also, if you are a fan of Linda Wertheimer, I once read an interview with her in which someone asked, “How did you develop such a rich and textured voice?” to which she replied, “I lived for 45 years.”


  7. Amy in Ohio said,

    Mo, I’ve met you, you are the cutest and tiniest thing. I know I am a bit younger ( I will be 30 next year) but at all ages we pick ourselves apart and realize we are getting older.

  8. Jura said,

    Frankly, I must be age-blind. They are beautiful women, no matter what. Note that more recent photos have more sharpening to the image, which brings up lines and darker shadows. Wouldn’t it be much worse If there was ‘soul’ shine missing in the eyes? Instead, I see more understanding of the universe in ‘now’ pics. We better hit the gym, a bike, or those running shoes. I was much chubbier in my 20ies than now in my 30ies, which ruined the 20ies for me, I am healthier and more elegant now, and hope to continue to improve in that direction.

  9. Liz in Virginia said,

    Valerie Bertinelli. Feh! She ruined all my excuses!

  10. Linda said,

    I will be 49 next month, which means this time next year I will be saying that I will be 50 next month. 50? When did that happen? I stopped thinking in terms of weight. I just had to. I weigh more now that when I was full term pregnant with both of my kids. Now, I think in terms of energy (or lack of), back pain (or how to have less), and just feeling good about myself and what I am accomplishing today (sobriety). And, all I can say about Valerie Bertenelli, bless her heart, is PHOTOSHOP.


  11. Sher said,

    hallejuhah! somebody else gets this!

    And, why, why, do the MEN end up looking BETTER than they did BEFORE . . . it is not fair!

    grumble, rumble,

    let’s make an AFTER club

  12. thegirlfromtheghetto said,

    I had to laugh because you mentioned the Thorn Birds, and little Meggie, because I was such a nerd that I wrote a seventeen page book report on it in high school. More importantly, I have been scared to see woman around-ish my age get older. I do not like aging at all, and soon enough I will turning the big 40 (Well, in 18 months, but still.)

    Whenever I see Kathleen, I think of her before Rhuematoid Arthritis got her. Sigh. It is not fair what the middle age does to us woman. I’m scared to see how ugly I’m going to get.

    As for Valerie, I AM THRILLED. So looks fantastic, and if we all had some $ and Holywood star power, we all could look like that. You want to see my scary before pictures?

    Go here:

  13. Michele said,

    I thought I was the only that felt this way about getting older. I FEEL young but when I look in the mirror I see my mother – when she was 60+ – not when she was the bathing beauty queen. I wish I could get the feeling alot of women get that “life is great when you get older” – I can’t get that feeling – I try and try but it just doesn’t come. When I look at a 30 year old guy I can’t figure out why he isn’t looking back – like he used to? Then I pass a mirror……………AGH!!!!

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