As the Continental DC-10 winged its way from Houston to Los Angeles, flight attendants rolled a cart by us expectant passengers, offering tempting ice cream sundaes for dessert. As she had done previously during the flight, the beautiful woman sitting across the aisle shook her head sideways with a resounding “no thanks,” pulled a blanket over her head and burrowed down into the seat. She had declined every culinary offering in first class that morning.
It was the early 80s and the passenger was Jane Fonda, who’s now a tender 74. Now we know she once fought a food addiction, as she has documented in her latest book published May 22: “Prime Time: Love, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit.”
Words for the wise: Us
If you’re a Fonda fan, as am I, you’ll hang on her extensive vocabulary, her ability to delve deeply inside herself with empathy and understanding, and her optimism about living the good life in one’s “Third Age.”
She writes: “We become empty chalices’…and so we try to fill ourselves with clutter, including addictions. Psychiatrists call this ‘self-medicating.’…If we don’t address our addictions, our stagnation, or our old attitudes, or if our life goal is centered on continuing the past, remaining powerful or good-looking in the mechanistic sense, then age is a downward and very slippery slope.”
Fonda encourages us to do a life review now, “to navigate the inevitable challenges of aging—what is negotiable and what isn’t.”
“You know what you need to do”
Jane Fonda is on the way up, as further evidenced by her newest movie, “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding,” which opens tomorrow. She plays a been-there, done-that Woodstock hippie. Although we may automatically assume there’s a correlation between Fonda and this role, she adamantly denies it: “I was never a hippie.”
Look for her on June 24 in HBO’s premiere of the new series, “The Newsroom,” set in a fictional Atlanta TV station: Is it a coincidental tie to her ex-husband, Ted Turner and CNN?
I can’t close today’s blog without also saying that she looks perfectly gorgeous, and yes, she’s admitted to plastic surgery—waiting much longer than most in her position. Good for her! She exudes an air of sophistication, grace and conviction, as a role model for female boomers—and beyond.