Over the Labor Day weekend I read my friend, Suzanne Braun Levine’s, new book about women, love, intimacy and sex in what she calls our Second Adulthood. I enjoyed it and benefitted from it. I wrote about some of this in “Prime Time” but seeing these issues through Levine’s wise eyes were just what I needed—right now. She makes the essential point that “we are not who we were, only older.” We change with ripeness and in many beautiful, profound ways, like athletes who, at a later time in life, try a new sport and discover new muscles they didn’t know they had. The book explores what this looks like in terms of relationships for women over 50.

In the book, Levine quotes another friend, the relationship advisor, Byron Katie; “Romantic love is the story of how you need another person to complete you. It is an absolutely insane story. My experience is that I need no one to complete me. As soon as I realize that, everyone completes me.”

My own relational experiences completely validate this statement. For me, it wasn’t until I was in my 60s that I felt complete unto myself. It took so much time, therapy, intention, reflection… and It was only then that everyone meaningful who came my way completed me and deeper intimacy became possible. Because I have always been challenged in the intimacy department, I think about it a lot and talk about it a lot and, lately, when I have done so, it has often been interpreted as ‘sex’ that I’m talking about. Not. The two are quite different. It’s quite possible to have intimacy without sex and sex without intimacy. One of the reasons that deeper intimacy has come my way (besides that I complete myself and so don’t depend on someone else to do so, as had always been the case in the past) is because I have, to again quote Suzanne’s book, “learned to raise my tolerances and lower my expectations.”

I hope you all had a wonderful 3-day holiday.

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  1. Hello Jane:
    First of all, let me say I enjoyed you in Newsroom very much too.
    I read of your mention of the increasing rate of suicide in our troops and veterans in your previous blog post. I am in the process of raising money to produce a documentary film about veterans using equine therapy to heal from PTSD. I am doing a Kickstarter campaign but it isn’t doing well and it ends on 9/7. If you have a moment, please check out the trailer here:
    I am trying to bring a greater awareness to the general public of what war does to the people who participate in it and what struggles our vets face as they return home and try to reintegrate into a civilian world. And I also want to bring greater awareness of what amazing creatures horses are and how they can help us heal.
    If there is any way you can help me, please be in touch. Thank you.

  2. A really interesting post. 🙂 But that’s no surprise.

    BTW, I’ve just see PL&M and let me tell you it turned out to be a most pleasant surprise. It was funny and moving at the same time, it was really likeable. It was like watching a comedy version of Autumn Sonata with a complicated mother-daughter relationship. You really nailed that character. Correct me if I’m wrong but I felt that you are much more confident on the screen. Although I loved that uncertainty about your early performances the most (since it made the characters so real and close to me as a viewer), I happen to love this new side of you just as much. I could feel how liberated and relaxed you are and that’s just as impressive to me. You were having fun with this character without the slightest edge of ham or overacting (something that easily could have happened with such an over-the-top character). Your spirit shines through the screen and enlightens me. 🙂 Plus, I became tearful when you read that poem in the movie segment in the end (beautiful delivery!!!). I’d say Grace is your greatest acting achievement for a long time (I hope some awards are coming in your way, too even though you probably don’t care that much anymore since you have so many prizes but I really love seeing you at these events). Thumbs up! 🙂

    I hope many people will see the movie, it’s really wonderful, the rest of the cast is just excellent as well (Ms. Olsen is gonna be a great star and Keener is great as always).

    When I’m asked in a couple of days about my 3 favorite actresses, I already know whom I’ll mention first. 😉 (though that’s always been that way, haha)

    • Daniel, thank you for your encouraging words. I am feeling a need to go back to acting class. Probably shouldn’t admit that. Alan Rickman recommended Uta Hagen’s book “Respecting Acting.” (or something like that. I am googling it to be sure)

  3. Greetings, Jane–

    I thought you might be interested in this new book from Naomi Wolf. I’m not an uncritical fan of hers, but this sounds fascinating and got me to thinking how, in my late 50s and early 60s, I’ve come to appreciate the fact that I see situations, experiences and even stuff from my past in more complex ways, through a more complex lens. That seemed maybe to relate to some of what you’re saying here.

    In any case, en-joy!


    • Dana, what’s the name of the book? Thanks. xx Jane

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