What is Reality? Jane Fonda and Life over 60

The Author

E. Alana James

E. Alana James

Dr E Alana James is reinventing herself again! Coming full circle to the first love of her life - art - and bringing back to her images all the lessons of her life as author, researcher, academic and wife. Concerned mostly with the idea of images as vehicles for expression of the truth of our inner and outer life experience.

I’m still reading about life over 60, encouraged actually by Jane Fonda. Now Jane Fonda is just older enough than I am, more the age of my sisters, that I never particularly connected with her as a celebrity or star. I picked up her book, Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship not because of her, but because it was mentioned by Catherine Bateson, who, it turns out, is a friend of hers. Nevertheless, I am delighted by Jane as she discusses being afraid, using the fear to rehearse the unknown, and then growing past all of it. After all, that is exactly what I’m doing with this reinventing light over 60s series.


Jane, like Catherine Bateson, agrees that with increased potential for longevity comes the requirement that when we restructure how we look at aging. She discusses the potential for three stages of life, each built with work, learning and leisure as integrated parts of the whole. It’s a good model, to consider our lives from 0-30, from 31-60 and then from 61-90 and beyond considering in each what work, learning, and leisure they involved.

I have to tell you that my thoughts right now are also very entangled with the work of Esther Hicks and Abraham. The general message is that all of the things we have experienced in life which cause us to want something different end up building an escrow account in the universe which we might claim if, and to the extent, which we experience the feeling of our life in vibrational harmony with our Source – or all goodness/well-being. In other words, there is nothing more important than feeling good. And when we come from a place of feeling good we are our best in the world. When we start from any other place, watch out – what you get you may not exactly want.

As I write, I muse about those three, three decade segments. I wonder if it is easier to experience that continual connection to source and goodness the older we are chronologically. Years ago I did something called Lay Eucharistic Ministry. There was one older woman, almost 100, who I visited. She was slight, lived most of her time in a single room in a nursing home, and yet she was the happiest woman I could imagine. It was her opinion that if God had given her those extra days, although she did not know why that was so, that it was a sin not to appreciate every breath.

Like Jane Fonda, I remember the first three decades of my life with, if not horror, at least a great deal of sense of sadness that so much opportunity was missed. While I could have been enjoying a naturally fit body and strong mind, I was all tied up inside with self-doubt. My memories of those times are balanced between the good things that occurred and the fears that I tried, often unsuccessfully, to conquer.

Jane writes about how at age 59 she decided to do a life review. It quickly became unfulfilling to merely notice what had gone on when. Instead, she had to excavate the feeling in order to look at this and perhaps often a stumbling new meaning to old adventures. This is fully in line with Esther Hicks and Abraham, that it is the feeling tone of our life where we find the richness of meaning.

At a basic level those early three decades and their mixture of sweetness and angst are the place where I built the repertoire of desire which has now developed or matured to a point to be fully experienced. What do I mean? My first three decades were where I decided I wanted a life with a solid foundation, I was appreciative of riches but not at the cost of a wild life, I was not going to live a life where love did not also come with respect and vice a versa, that I deserve to be appreciated, my unique gifts were meaningful to others, and I deserve to be happy. In other words I began to find my worth.

The second degree decades of my life have to do with stretching my wings, flying, and learning to appreciate new vistas. First I was almost bankrupt, then all I grew a new business, following that with both the Masters and Doctorate. My second three decades had many ups and downs but were the place I learned that feeling and taste of success. My life was enriched by my courage to take risks. The greatest, and yet most fulfilling of which were to a) love another woman, and b) moved to Ireland. Without a doubt these two things are the cornerstone of all the joy I feel on a daily basis.

What’s in the vortex next for me? Financial success, freedom and independence, traveling, connection with others, and a growing appreciation of how I can get my kicks by co-creating with others our growing understanding of life’s creative process. How do I get there from here? In many ways none of it is far off – merely a second away. My task is to keep feeling good, feeling the escrow I have built up and to keep believing in the outcomes of the lessons of my first two sets of three decades. It will be as easy or as hard as I make it – I think I should choose the easy – don’t you?