By Roberta Jasina

Some American Vietnam War Veterans can’t stand Jane Fonda.  They do not forgive her for visiting North Vietnam during the war in the 1970s, and calling American soldiers “War Criminals.”

That was horrible.

But that was 40 years ago and I think maybe Jane Fonda has grown up.  (I hope so.)

I think she’s better now.

Fonda was the featured speaker at “The Henry” in Dearborn Sunday.  It was a luncheon sponsored by Weight Watchers.

It was fascinating.

She talked about growing up.  About how she came from a “long line of depressives.”  (Her mother committed suicide.)  Fonda talked about her 25 year battle with eating disorders, her breast cancer, and the 21,000-page file that the FBI has on her.  She joked about some of her old fitness videos (which she calls pornographic.)  She laughs about her artificial hip and knee. She chatted about her own children who’ve been very critical of her.

Fonda told the crowd that she now sees life is a “staircase to whole-ness and well-being.” She believes that from birth to age 50, people are stressed and hostile.  And that after 50, life suddenly becomes significantly happier.  Fonda says, “After 50 you know what you can let go of.”

I think she has let go of a lot of bad baggage.  And I think she had a lot to let go of.

Fonda says she has “worked” to improve her attitude.

When someone in the audience asked her what words of wisdom would she give to younger people.  Fonda said:

#1. “Life gets better.”

#2 “Learn who you are and be true to yourself.  Don’t give yourself away.  Honor yourself.”

And when it comes to tragedy, Fonda says “You think you’re being broken, but really you’re being broken open.”  She calls tragedy a mulch that helps you grow.

As for her advice for older people who are not feeling the happiness Fonda has found…she suggests

1. Being more forgiving

2. Volunteering

3. Exercising

4. Believing in a Higher Power.

I was never really a Jane Fonda fan.  I hated what she did in the 70s.

But people change, don’t they?  We all struggle.  We all make mistakes.  Many of us did a lot of stupid  stuff. (Especially 40 years ago!)  And some of us actually DO get better.  Some of us are still trying.

I think 73 year old Jane Fonda has gotten better.

But judge for yourself.  Her latest book is titled “Prime Time.”


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