Why Jane Fonda Is Happier At 77 Than She Was At 17

by Emily Lackey

If you think Hollywood is obsessed with being young and attractive, then you should probably start listening to some of the older actors in Tinseltown. Recently, Jane Fonda spoke exclusively with Variety about her long career in Hollywood, and she had some strong words for the industry that fostered her path as an actress. When it comes to feeling nostalgic about her good ol’ days in Hollywood, Fonda said that the good ol’ days were actually pretty bad for her — and that these days, her days spent at the age of 77, are actually the best days of her life.

Now if that isn’t an important message for a youth-obsessed industry, then I don’t know what is.

It’s pretty incredible to read an interview with a woman who can talk about her life in terms of decades, but I guess that is the benefit of being Fonda and having lived such a large life. She talks quite a bit in the interview about what she did in each of her decades, including having children, producing her own movies, writing her memoirs, and returning to acting. But when it comes to her reminiscing about her younger days, she said, “The ‘good old days’ were pretty bad for me. The real good old days are now.” And can we just talk for a minute about how refreshing this is to hear?

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In a town (and a world, really) where youth is constantly sold as the number one thing to strive for, and where women are often told that our young days are the best years of our lives, it’s amazing to hear a woman like Fonda talk about how the best years for her are actually right now. Maybe, just maybe, being young isn’t the best thing in the world — maybe that’s just what the world (our world that worships youth and beauty) has been telling us because it’s the thing that our society seems to value most. From Fonda’s point of view, her best years are happening now, at 77 years old.

This, my friends, is the message that we should be sharing with women everywhere. Being young may seem like it’s the best time of your life because being young is what everyone seems to value most, but oftentimes it’s more confusing than it is incredible, more emotional than it is empowering. Maybe getting old and living a full life isn’t something to fear or dread. Maybe it’s something we are all lucky to do if we get to do it.

And hopefully, when we get there, we will be healthy and happy enough to think of it as the best years of our lives, too.