Jane Fonda and Me

…and YOU.

On the cover of last week’s Parade was a picture of the very glamorous Jane Fonda at 73.  Very few of us looked that good at 27, let alone 73, but-trust me here-we can all do as Jane did, age gracefully and graciously. Her secret? She started young, she was born beautiful, but that’s not the point. The point is, she took care of herself, and taking care of yourself can’t begin too young.

The main and most important quality of aging gracefully is good health. That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends. There is nothing more  appealing than good health, at whatever age. And YOU and YOU alone are responsible for that. You must decide today, you can’t start any younger, that’s what you want from life. Work towards that end and-trust me-baring some serious misadventure over which you have no control, it will pay off.  Money, jewels, clothes, big cars, rich mates, fame, mean nothing if you’re not healthy.

So how does one attain that goal?  First of all, don’t get fat. This is not to say that if you’re born big-boned, with a tendency to plumpness, that’s not attractive.  Big girls grow up to be big women and, if that’s you, that’s you, but don’t contribute to it. Not all of us can be as slim, long and lanky as Jane, but we needn’t end up looking like a circus tent, either. Whatever healthy pounds you carry will depend on your natural build. Consider it, keep it, and love it. If you’re into the ‘man thing’-or the ‘woman thing’-lots of  others love it, too. Don’t you dare let anyone tell you that because you’re big you’re unattractive. Carry yourself proudly, carry yourself well, we can’t all look like Twiggys. Anyhow, that’s just the style today. It can change tomorrow.

Find out who you are, how you like yourself, love yourself, and stay put. Be happy there, because happiness with yourself counts, too.

Before I dig deep into how we do this, I’d like to share an experience with Jane.

I met her first in Honolulu at the home of a Quaker family in Manoa into whose home Jane and the others in the musical production FREE THE ARMY SHOW were invited after the performance; which was packed, by the way. I felt so much older than she. So much more burdoned. I had a kid in that war. She seemed free, young, and doing something important. What she considered-me, too-the most important thing in her life at that time: protesting the war in Vietnam.  She made mistakes, plenty of them, but she did what she had to do. And, you know what? That’s part of the aging process, too.

I won’t go into the political end of it. In tomorrow’s column, I’ll discuss some important tips and clues as to where to begin. Right now.

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