Jane Fonda, 86, speaks frankly about aging at GenSpace

| December 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

INTERVIEWER Willow Bay, dean of the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, talks with Jane Fonda, right.

Actress, author and activist Jane Fonda settled into her seat on stage and said, “An awful lot of young people here, but you’ll get old one day, if you’re lucky.” The audience responded with a laugh.

Fonda spoke at a Better with Age talk held at Wallis Annenberg GenSpace, 3643 Wilshire Blvd., in Koreatown on Dec. 5. GenSpace is an innovative community center for older adults.

The 86-year-old Fonda, who is so full of life, energy and charisma that she seems to defy her age, spoke with Willow Bay, dean of the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, in front of about 200 audience members.

Fonda peppered her responses with humorous one-liners, spoke about her two books on aging and revealed, “I like to make my fears my best friend, and aging scared me.”

She said that, through extensive research, she learned that people are living an average of 34 years longer than previous generations. She considers this a “grand gift of time” and refers to it as “your third act.” She doesn’t want to waste her final act and doesn’t want anyone else to either.

FOUNDER OF GENSPACE, Wallis Annenberg, introduces Jane Fonda. Photos courtesy of Unique Nicole for GenSpace

She is the poster child for having a positive outlook and encouraged all of the attendees to feel the same. “This isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is it,” she said.

When she was 59, she hadn’t a clue how she was going to live her third act, but “I didn’t want to end up like my dad, with so many regrets.” She has consciously worked on forgiving, communicating with her kids, being more compassionate and patient and listening from her heart.

Of course, the workout queen of the ’80s still believes exercising regularly is critical for your quality of life. Fonda said that her knees, hips, a shoulder and one thumb are all fake, but encouraged everyone there to walk, stretch and keep moving. Fonda also revealed, “I’m losing my eyesight, but gaining insight.”

Her final fight is the climate crisis. Practically jumping out of her chair, she said, “It is an outrage. People are dying, suffering from fossil fuels and displaced by climate change. Everyone should vote for people who don’t take any money from the fossil fuel industry.”

She believes the industry has been lying to the public for years and the only way for policy to change is for people to protest in the streets. She recalled when citizens did this in the 1970s. Their actions resulted in the United States government creating the Environmental Protection Agency and passing the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

Lastly, she believes community has been declining since the 1980s. She encouraged everyone in the audience to “create community with like-minded people.” It’s one of the reasons she thinks GenSpace is such a special place. And not to mention, Fonda said, “Everything here is so beautiful and the space is impeccable. Just look around.”

GenSpace’s mission is to create a brand new space that reimagines aging through wellness, connection and lifelong learning. Its goal is to create community and reduce social isolation for older adults.

When talking to Gen-Space members Pat McNair and Ramona McCardell of Mid-City, they agreed that GenSpace is achieving its mission and goal in spades. The women said, “The events here are all great. They just wow us and make us feel special. We don’t feel old. It’s a treasure trove.”

For more information and to become a member, call 424-407-4023 or visit annenberggenspace.org.

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Category: People

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