As I get ever older, I am beginning to see our culture as one which punishes us for all of the wrong things. Take aging as an example. Instead of possibly rewarding us for all of our various work and life experiences and admitting that we have so much more wisdom to offer as we age, we often get rid of workers when they get past age 50, criticizing or ostracizing those who eventually become old and frail. Has it occurred to any of us what fate we will face if we should be lucky enough to live that long?
That is why I enjoyed reading Debbie Reynolds’s new memoir Unsinkable. The foreword by her daughter Carrie Fisher states this well. [My mother] is “telling her story from a point in her life, where she can see further and better than ever before.” That’s what being 85-years-old gives you, great perspective!
I enjoy Ms. Reynolds’s perspective on many things like aging: “For me, the hardest part of getting older is that I think I’m thirty. Then I look in the mirror and see somebody else looking back. It still startles me.” (page 177) I’m just beginning to appreciate the wisdom in these words!
For some reason, I have always liked Debbie Reynolds. I guess I enjoy her honest, straight-forward way of looking at things, never seeming like a “celebrity,” just normal and accessible. That is why I decided to read her new memoir. And for those of you who have a tendency to idealize the lives of the rich and famous, this story will certainly cure you of that illusion.
There is nothing idyllic about the struggles Ms. Reynolds has had to endure. Yes she was beautiful, talented and gutsy enough to find work as a movie star. Who can forget her in The Unsinkable Molly Brown and How the West was Won?
But her personal life can be the envy of no one. She admits that she has a very bad habit of trusting the wrong people, and choosing the worst husbands. Her first, Eddie Fisher, left her for Elizabeth Taylor with two small children, and the other two took horrible advantage of her loving, trusting nature, marrying her only for access to her wealth and fame. It seems love was not in the stars for Ms. Reynolds.
Still she did produce a strong, loving family, she is today an American legend, and she has had many amazing friendships, even with Liz Taylor!
And, in spite of the many tough life challenges she has had to confront, she is still alive and kicking in her mid-80s. I consider that a certain kind of success.
To learn more about mastering difficult life transitions you might enjoy my books: Midlife Magic: Becoming The Person You Are Inside! and my new one: Find Your Reason to be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife.
To find a new faith in love try: How to Believe In Love Again.