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Jane Fonda: "I don't think we can fully live until we have come to terms with our mortality. My friend Fred Branfman calls it 'life-affirming death awareness.'"

Note: Jane Fonda writes, in her book My Life So Far, that she first began to confront death seriously in the period before and after her father died. Fonda partly used this experience to face her own death, and as a spur to live more deliberately and fully.

From My Life So Far, by Jane Fonda:

"I don't think we can fully live until we have come to terms with our mortality. My friend Fred Branfman calls it 'life-affirming death aware­ ness.' There's something far worse than death, I think, and that is to not really live.

"I learned from watching Dad die that it is not death I fear as much as it is dying with unresolved regrets about things not done. This realization is determining how I am living my third act. If I want Vanessa to have sweet dreams, I have to work on that now, and I am. If I want to leave my family stronger for my having lived, that is also something I have to work on—now."

From an Elle-Hungry Interview, with journalist Zsuzsa Beres (www.zsuzsaberes.com):

"We're so afraid of dying that we don't think about the fact that we're going to die. We're not conscious of it. And what it means is that we live our lives not intentionally. It's hard when you're younger, but when you reach a certain age, like your last act in your sixties, you know, it's important to say, hey I've got maybe ten, twenty, thirty years left, I don't want to die regretting my life, I don't want to die without knowing who I am.

"So I think it is important, and this is what I did when I turned sixty, was I made a deal with myself. I said I am going to live my remaining years very intentionally, so that when I get to the end of my life I won't have too many regrets. And what does this mean? I'm going to be true to myself. I'm going to be present for my children and grandchildren. I'm going to live from a place of love from my heart, and not waste my time with foolish bitternesses and jealousies. That I'm going to try to be the best person I can be and be true to myself.

"I go back to that same thing, being true to myself. I realize I don't have any mornings to waste, I don't have any days to waste. This is it, and it's not a dress rehearsal. And once you do that, then every day you think `this day will never repeat itself, I have to live to the fullest in the present'. You know, the awareness of death allows us to live intentionally, the way we're supposed to."