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alec vanderboom

I'm gobbling up these film reviews for "This is 40." Some reviews seem to dismiss the angst in this movie as "first world problems." Some were mystified as to why a family "with all the trappings of wealth" feels economically insecure.  Yet I really "got it", even though I haven't see the movie yet. Growing up in Suburban America, I felt this great insecurity. Even though everything looked fine on the surface, it felt unsteady. It felt like the floor or your life could drop out underneath you at any second. I grew up around successful adults who seemed very nervous. We kids felt that nervousness.

When I was in 8th grade, the bottom did fall out from us. My father didn't get tenure. Jobs for college history professors are not easy to come by. The job options my father in 1988 had were in North Dakota, rural Michigan, and rural West Virginia. So we moved 4 hours away, but it was entering a different world.

I started a new high school and hated every second of it. Then when I travelled "back home", I started to see how much better my life was at age 15 compared to the lives of all of my old friends.

I'm fascinated about this "gift of poverty." I get that on our small salary and large family, we're financially better off than the family depicted in "This is 40." We're not just reaping the spiritual benefits of poverty-- emotionally and financially, I have a much easier life because we have a small income.

That is so anti-American.

I think film-makers really get in trouble when they try to speak the truth. "First world problems." That is so dismissive. Our material abundance, our lack of community inside our marriage and our families--that is a problem. That's a huge problem.

Hopefully, I can find the clip where one husband talks about his wife not liking him. It's so heartbreakingly true.