Fonda memories

Not long ago Jane Fonda visited New Zealand for a special one night appearance where she was interviewed about her life on stage in front of a full house. I was there. Way up in the back row applauding wildly. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. At 71, I’m a bit embarrassed to confess that I am a “fan”. But I am.

At 80, Jane Fonda is 9 years my senior and has always been for me a role model as I made my own way from adolescence to adulthood and through all the many changes in myself and the world around me that eventually led me to what she calls “the last third of life”.

I loved listening to her reflect on her life and touch on so much that I could personally relate to. The disillusionment of the American dream that came with the reality of the Vietnam war. Her relationship with her father, the famous Henry Fonda, who just never really saw or acknowledged her. And her reflections about being 80. The woman looks like a beautiful 50-year-old. She has a sharp mind and the kind of wisdom that only comes with experience. She spoke about life in three parts. The first 30 years of youth. Then adulthood. And the final 30 years. She said that when she was 59 she realised that next year she would be 60 and in the final third of her life and she wanted/needed so much to draw it all together. Honest to God, it could have been the speech I made at my 70th birthday about this being the last chapter of my life and my need to connect it with the rest of the story into some cohesive whole. No fading into the night for me!

I sometimes feel like a young adult again, trying to figure out how to make the shift from childhood to adulthood. Only this time it is from adult to “senior”.  How good it was to hear someone I admire reflect my own experience back at me!

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Kathy Torpie

Kathy Torpie has done many things in her life, including attending Paul Smith’s Journalism class over 20 years ago! She is a retired (well, kind of retired!) psychologist, author, keynote speaker and a former magazine columnist and freelance writer.