“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.” – Anais Nin
Jane Fonda, the movie star, the fitness icon, the daughter of Henry Fonda and Frances Ford Seymour.
I loved her movies and was into aerobics fitness at the same time she was promoting her videos. Her 1982 workout video “Jane Fonda’s Fitness” was the highest selling VHS of all time. She went on to produce 21 more videos. I think my favourite of her movies was 9 to 5. She was as close to my pin-up girl that I had (the Beatles were pretty cool too, but I was just a little too young to really appreciate them).
Now I hear her talk about those years when I thought she was having this amazing life, she describes it as hell. She was suffering from bulimia and poor self-image and was struggling with all of the relationships of her life. Then she describes being over 60 as the best years of her life. She calls this her third act. Dividing her life into 30-year segments. Jane has written a book “Prime Time” and given a very famous TED talk describing her life in the 3rd act.
She says “At the beginning of my third act, I realized… I don’t know who I am.
“I was 60 and thought, I have maybe 30 more years. Third acts are important and can pull the rest together. So I went about studying myself, which meant studying my parents and grandparents. Those are the people who determine who you are – who you then spend the rest of your life healing from. One of the things I hope people come away feeling is a need to examine their lives.”
I too feel that my life can be divided into three acts. The first 18 years is growing up – learning to walk and talk, go to school and become an adult. (Jane is saying that this period is for 30 years and for many it is, but I finished this stage early.) The second act is about finding a partner, having children, career, mortgage and managing all these different demands. There is very little time for self-introspection. It is a very busy time and for me it started when I was 18 and finished when I was 62.
The third act is different.
All those ‘have tos’ are finished. It is now our time. Time to discover who we are, what we like and don’t like, what we want to do, and what we believe and want to fight for. Thirty years have been added to our life expectancy in the past 2 generations, says Jane, and these years are not meant to be a footnote.
We have this amazing opportunity to live 30 more years full of health and opportunities. How can we re-imagine this new phase of our lives? What can we do with these years and how can we use these years to make a difference? This is what we are going to uncover. We are on a journey to discover who we are, and how we want to spend the next 30 years in a way that feels fulfilling. We are blooming and blossoming and becoming who we always thought we were. Enjoy Jane Fonda’s TED talk and let me know what you take away from this talk.