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Q&A: Jane Fonda on life, longevity and activism

Jane Fonda spoke Aug. 18 at Kepler's bookstore

Actress, activist, author and fitness guru Jane Fonda spoke and signed copies of her new book at Kepler's bookstore in Menlo Park on Aug. 18.

"Prime Time: Making the Most of Your Life" aims to provide a comprehensive blueprint for healthy, fulfilled living well into what Fonda calls the Third Act of life.

Via email, she answered questions about longevity, its effects on humanity, and activism for seniors.

Q: There are other books about living well in old age. What inspired you to write "Prime Time," and how does it add to the conversation?

A: There are many books out there on aging, some very good, none that cover the gamut as my new book does. There are books called things like "How to Live to be 100," catchy sorts of titles that promise all sorts of things. There are many books about how to extend your lifespan (not supported by most scientists), how to do financial and legal planning for the Third Act, books about wisdom and soul.

But none that I know of include all those subjects along with issues of intimacy and how to maintain a safe and pleasurable sex life as you age things people have told me they have never been able to find out about elsewhere. As my editor says, "This is a very generous book." I have done four years of intense research and I am very proud of what this book can bring people.

Q: Recent reports show that San Mateo County residents live longer than just about anyone else in the country. Are we buying more of your videos? What are we doing right?

A: That's terrific! I know that Loma Linda (in Southern California) is one of what are called "Blue Zones," which are places where there is an unusually high number of centenarians. The reason this is true in Loma Linda is because many of that town's population are members of a religion (Seventh-Day Adventist) that encourages healthy eating and lots of physical exercise as a normal part of their days.

Q: How should those still in Act II be "rehearsing" for Act III? What about those in Act I?

A: I have heard from a number of people in their forties who have already read my book and tell me they learned a great deal about how to begin preparing for their Third Act. I offer many questions that readers can ask themselves about people and events in their first and second acts -- questions that will help them understand themselves better -- what they can change and what they can't about their character and personality.

Act II is a perfect time to start thinking about the future. For example, begin a life review. This was so important to my own sense of well-being now as I age. Begin to think about savings and budgeting. Start becoming more physically active if you haven't already.

Q: You talk about a "longevity revolution" changing everything, including what it means to be human. Expand on that bold statement.

A: When you add a new room onto a house, it isn't just that new room that is different -- how you use the entire house is altered. This is a good way to think about the 34 years that have been added to the average American lifespan over the last century. It represents an entire second adult lifetime.

This changes (or potentially changes) our notions of marriage, of relationships in general, of how we pace ourselves through life. We are able to experience our own species' effects on the planet in ways we couldn't when we only lived to an average of 45 years.

Q: In addition to your work with fitness, you're known for passionate social and political activism. Is that sort of thing compatible with old age or is that strictly a younger person's game?

A: Activism is not only compatible with old age, it is quite usual for people, women in particular, to become more radical when they're older. We have less to lose. We're beyond the pleasing stages.

I feel our task is to mentor, encourage, teach the younger generations and to use our increasing numbers, ongoing zest (Post-Menopausal Zest, or PMZ, as Margaret Meade called it) and wisdom to make the world a more peaceful, equitable place.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by False fame
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Nice, if you have the money. Jane Fonda would be just another wannabe if she didn't start with family money.


Like this comment
Posted by Physician's Wife
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Aug 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm

@False Fame: if it makes you feel any better, she did not have a great life growing up in her family. Her mom committed suicide when she was 12, and she had a strained relationship with her father (didn't you see "On Golden Pond?").

But it is true, that money does buy a lot more than materials. It allows people to seek their real dreams.

Jane Fonda is just famous - doesn't mean she knows what she's talking about.

And while I'm at it, a lot of those famous physicians in the media are not the best doctors but simply businessmen who promote themselves. The biggest scammer is the RealAge guy, Michael Roizen (who is an anesthesiologist, which has nothing to do with aging). His research is bogus (my husband is a research pro). And Mehmet Oz sensationalizes everything. Those guys on The Doctors are okay, but obvious publicity hounds and figureheads, as most are pumped up with Botox. One doesn't even have to be a physician to give the advice they give on the show - it's all basic information. Robert Rey is a womanizer who is a member of the Screen Actor's Guild and exaggerates his resume. People don't know he got kicked out of a medical program for womanizing (my husband knew of him when it occured). Not sure about Drew Pinsky - he seems respectable. Sanjay Gupta, however, is a well-respected physician amongst the medical field (phew, at least one is worthwhile to watch).


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

"Jane Fonda is just famous - doesn't mean she knows what she's talking about."
Her political opinions were just an echo of her then husband, Tom Hayden. Her subsequent "defense" of those opinions demonstrate her vacuity. All tits, no wits.


Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm

"...a womanizer..."

What does that have to do with anything? Most womanizers are matched with menizers. JFK and FDR and Clinton were womanizers...didn't make them bad presidents, per se.

Jane Fonda got around the block, too. Her problem was not all her men, but her judgement in political affairs.


Like this comment
Posted by y'all r loons
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Lots of good Neanderthal, club swinging, hair dragging, "keep da ***** in da kitchen" opinions here.

So enlightening.

Can't wait to hear what y'all think of other races and religions.

Really, Walter?


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Not surprised by Walter's comment, given his previous comments about certain people. Sexism is par for his course


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I was kinda proud of that one. It was specifically aimed at Jane Fonda, not at women in general or even as a class. svatoid, you have the weakness of generalizing my particular comments.
y'all, I think nothing at all of race, which is kind of ambiguous anyway. As for religion, to the extent that it is voluntary I am amused by many and threatened by a few.


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Spin, Walter, spin. Glad to hear that you are proud of that comment. Why even mention her breasts? why not just mention that you feel that she has no brains? Says plenty about--not that we did not know and suspect much of it.


Like this comment
Posted by y'all r loons
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Maybe Walter, as typically do many threatened males, felt he had to "knock her down a peg".

Maybe he was threatened because she had a highly successful entrepreneurial career as a fitness icon. A beautiful actress in fabulous shape.

Or maybe he just liked watching the "workout" videos.

The way Kaddafi kept his picture book of Condi.

So sad.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I dislike Fonda for her political views, as screwed up as they may be. She should have stopped at Barbarella. If I show some wit in my criticism, so be it. If you or y'all chose to expand my dislike for Fonda to a general dislike of all women that is your spin not mine. I was specifically critical of Jane. To extrapolate from that to a general dislike of all females is not supported by anything I wrote. Why not attack my specific criticism, boys? Too hot for you?


Like this comment
Posted by Well endowed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Well endowed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Just a great lady
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I love Jayne Fonda particularly for her political views in the 1970s. I marched and rallied against the Vietnam war too, along with thousands of others. I, and my then 4 year old son, walked in the famous "Mother's Against the War" march in Palo Alto.

I love her now, she has exercised, maintained her great body, and dresses appropriately for her age. She covers up sagging arms and has removed her sagging eyelids and chin, and if I had the money I'd do it too!!

Also, a satisfying sex partner at age 73 can't be all bad. Is she too hot for you Walt?


Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm

It is certainly possible, even likely, to have both tits and wits, but Jane is forever claiming to regret what she said or did in the past. If she had wits, instead of just seeking attention and affirmation, she would not have to constantly back track. She is NOT a good role model for women.


Like this comment
Posted by Just a great lady
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Kevin says: "Jane is forever claiming to regret what she said or did in the past." The only thing Jayne regrets is being photographed sitting on a North Vietamese tank. She has never regretted being opposed to the Vietnam War.

Many millions of otherwise patriotic U.S. citizens were opposed to the Vietnam War, Jayne was no different than the rest of us.

She is a great role model for older women. I'd give anything to look as good as she does at age 73.


Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Web Link

This Wikipedia piece will show how she backtracked on several major issues (to include denial of torture of POWs by the N. Vietnamese; anti-Israel propaganda). She is impulsive, and lacks her wits.

BTW, many patriotic Americans rejected going to war against Germany, in WWII, too. It was called isolationism. Would Jane Fonda support them? Would she have also been a peacenik against fighting Japan in that war? She also opposed the liberation of Iraq. Socialist subjugation seems to be among her favorite causes. Did she ever say anything against Pol Pot, when he was plowing his killing fields...or would that have made her a pariah in Hollywood (thus lacking of attention), at the time?


Like this comment
Posted by toy
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Have you ever heard about ever changing world and ideas positions?She is just doing that,so witty.


Like this comment
Posted by Go Jane
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm

"This Wikipedia piece will show how she backtracked on several major issues "
I guess when the Rick Perry's of the world do it (supporting states rights and NY gay marriage laws and now supporting a anti-gay marriage contstitutional amendment) itis okay, but when it is someone like Fonda then she is accused of backtracking.

Just a Great Lady is correct. People like Kevin and Walter, who never served their country, are always eager to attack those who disagree with them--they have no problem sending someone else's children to die a la Dick Cheney. Sunshine patriots the lot of them


Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

"People like Kevin and Walter, who never served their country..."

That's an interesting one. Did Jane? Or did she just oppose them, while they were serving? BTW, Walter served in combat in Korea. I just developed computer codes for the military...hardly combat, but still quite useful. I would bet that Jane would throw a protest against me, if only she knew....

The bottom line is that sex kittens should grow old gracefully, and not pretend that they were tigers. Margaret Thatcher was (is) a tiger, and I know of her...Jane Fonda is no Margaret Thatcher.


Like this comment
Posted by Well endowed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Opposition to the Vietnam war, while I took issue with it, did not have to include glorifying the Viet Kong. Most of the opponents to the war were quite vocal in their opposition without taking the side of the Kong. Jane took the side of a nation at war with the US and happily lent her aid to their propaganda. She did indeed share the blame for Pol Pot's mountain of skulls and the misery that propelled the boat people. [the boat people, incidentally, became fine citizens here.] I do not know why the government gave Jane a bye for her treason, but I do not.


Like this comment
Posted by Well endowed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

The khmer rouge because of the US policy regarding cambodia. They illegally bombed cambodia and supported a corrupt government. It is kissinger that should be charged with reason and war crimes. It was the vietnamese that overthrew the khmer rouge in 1979. Learn some history, walter, instead of your knee jerk condemnation of anyone that does not march to your right wing drum.


Like this comment
Posted by Well endowed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm

The above should read that the US illegally bombed cambodia and kissinger should have been charged with treason.


Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm

N. Vietnam illegally invaded Cambodia, using it as a supply route to illegally invade S. Vietnam. Pol Pot had his own socialist agenda, and he took avatange of the circumstances. Jane Fonda said nothing, while Pol Pot was doing his slaughter. But then, she was not a tiger.


Like this comment
Posted by Well endowed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Kevin, what did you and walter say during the khmer rouge years. Why focus in on fonda? Do not forget that the US supported the khmer rouge initially. Remember that they were against the vietnamese and the US had just gotten their asses kicked by the veit cong. Also the US bombing of cambodia killed as many cambodians as pol pot did. Maybe you can study history with walter-that is if you can stop staring st his breasts


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2011 at 6:07 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Well, well, Well. "...the US had just gotten their asses kicked by the veit cong..." - The US NEVER got its ass kicked. We won every major battle. It was our congressional democrats that threw the war to the Cong. "...the US bombing of cambodia killed as many cambodians as pol pot did." - The US bombed military facilities, civilian casualties were limited to a few hundred, not even close to the 3 million Pol Pot killed.
No, Jane's subsequent silence on every communist atrocity showed her as a belligerent on the communist side and a traitor to her country.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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