My Birthday Dinner With Richard, brother Peter and his wife, Parky

Okay, I turned 77 today. My Winter Solstice birthday. A perfect day: I worked out for an hour, climbed a mountain, meditated for an hour, took a hot bath/jacuzzi with Epsom Salts and another salt called “Pink Love,” and I poured some Baby Oil into it cause the walk was windy and my skin felt dry.

I also read a new book called “The Art of Stillness” by Pico Iyer. I highly recommend. It takes but a few hours and is wise. It also talks about Leonard Cohen which is always interesting–and wise.

I’m beginning to like having a birthday right before Christmas, down here at the bottom of the year, just before we begin to swing back up into a new one. I hope the new one will be slower but I guess that’s up to me, isn’t it? Maybe it’s my age but I’m finding Christmas a time when we dwell a bit more (at least we try to) on the meaning of Jesus’ birth and what his life and death represented. Personally, I like to concentrate more on his life but I guess that’s why I’m a small ‘c’ christian who’s fascinated by the Gnostic Gospels (the ones deemed not worthy of inclusion in the cannon) and dips into Buddhism as often as possible. Thinking about Jesus makes me think about the quality of my love, of my thoughtfulness, of my ability to forgive, of the importance of friends, of willingness to sacrifice. These are all good things to be thinking about on your birthday when you’re about to start your own personal new year and feel even more resonant because my own personal new year is just 10 days from the calendar New Year when resolutions abound.

Like I said, age makes new years feel special . . . they can no longer be taken for granted (of course they never should be taken for granted) and we septuagenarians do well to enter them with serious resolutions so that this third act will add up to something.

I’ve found myself backsliding a bit of late in terms of where my thoughts have tended to reside (not always with the generosity of vision I wish for) and my confidence has been iffy for the past four months. So, while meditating today an idea came to me: I’m going to create a shrine to myself–or, at least, the self I wish to be, the self who began to manifest when I was a young girl before the shit hit the fan. I’m talking about creating a small place where I can put things that remind me, conjure up in me, the qualities that represent my best self. I will spend the new year collecting objects and symbols that will do that. One will be from my 4th grade school report. Things that remind me that I’m brave. I’ve been forgetting that. I will put a special candle on the shrine and burn sandalwood and put some special Native American artifacts that I’ve treasured over the years in honor of the Mohawk Nation where my Fonda ancestors built their homestead.

That’s it for now

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  1. Beautiful post and I’m glad you indeed had a great birthday (you can read my best wishes on your last post). Anyway, I send you all my love again (anytime, darn it)! <3 😀

    And a shrine is a great idea. I started something like that on my desk, where I put my favorite gifts (usually pictures, greeting notes or even wrappings from friends and family, e.g. my best friend made me a birthday card with you on it, I loved that; you know, objects come and go, but the feeling when you receive your present stays with you). It constantly reminds me of the positivity coming from my loved ones and the fact that I'm a person who receives lots of love and if I feel depressed or alone I look at that desk and just feel blessed. That's enough for me. Fortunately, it is starting to get very crowded. 🙂

    I wish you happy holidays and a blessed Christmas! 🙂

    Love from you ol' blogging pal,

  2. I really do think you are wonderful. Happy Birthday… xoxoxo

  3. I want to wish you a belated Happy Birthday! Also, please know that your confidence and bravery has given me the confidence to say what needs to be said, and the courage to do what needs to be done. Not always easy, but necessary. LOVED your character on the Newsroom. Have a FABULOUS year!

  4. Happy happy Birthday! You look fabulous! My parents 84 years celebrating 63 years of marriage Dec 21 longest night of the year!! Have a wonderful day celebrating & Merry Christmas too.

  5. Happy Birthday Jane. I am so glad that you’re still here to give us inspiration and new things to think about. Love you Jane.

  6. All the best Jane. You have inspired many people.

  7. Happy birthday and a great idea of how to look at a life. I did a photo retrospective recently but that left out too much. I like your idea better.

  8. Jane—First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! December birthdays are very tricky, so I hope you enjoyed yours:-) I LOVE the idea of the shrine and am already thinking of things to put in mine. I think most of my objects would be photos of my friends, family and travels, but one piece that I have kept as a bookmark over the years is a Delta luggage tag from 20+ years ago, from the first time I went to Paris. I was just out of college, had no money and saved, saved, saved to go. I was just happy to get a whole can of Coke on the flight! I landed at Orly and somehow managed to get into the city. I stayed in an awful hotel across the Seine from Notre Dame, had to walk down two flights of stairs for a cold shower in January and loved every minute of it! It reminds me of sacrificing for things that will re-charge me and the pure excitement of taking off on a plane and waking up in another part of the world. Nothing like it….

    Thanks for the idea and your sharing!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!


  9. I sent you a wish of peace yesterday here in a private message. Sounds like you had a great birthday…and you deserve it. And you are brave…at least I think you are. For things you have dealt with and influenced in your life.You continue to inspire me. Happy Birthday…Merry Christmas…and Happy New Year, Lady Jane. Blessings to you!

  10. Happy belated birthday , so happy you had a wonder birthday!

  11. Happy Birthday, Jane! Quite an active birthday with working out and climbing mountains! Not bad! I want to be like you when I grow up! 😉
    It is funny that you mention your “best self”. I have been searching for that “best self” myself. It is difficult though, because your best self should be how you feel best about yourself inside, but often tends to be thought of as the best self that others think of you as . . . . the best person you can be in the eyes of others. That shouldn’t be the case, but in some ways they tend to go hand-in-hand I guess. I finally came to the conclusion that my best self is when I am positive, helping others, standing up for what I believe in, and feeling a love for life, appreciating every small moment. Those are the times when I feel happiest and most content. Your words and wisdom in the past years have actually lead me to see these things as my “best self”. I just have to remind myself to live each day with those ideas in mind. (Ok, my comment probably doesn’t make any sense. I might be thinking in a totally different direction than you meant in your entry, but thank you. As usual, you have me reflecting on life.)

  12. Happy Forever Young & Beautiful Always! 🙂

  13. Happy birthday, Jane. I lived this are such a fine writer…read all ur books…think if u as a friend I have yet to meet. I am 72…struggle with that confidence..then I don’t. Worry about how much time..then I don’t. I do want meaning and understanding. It is such a privilege to live long enough to ponder such are such a beacon for so many. Stay healthy…let’s get to our 109 th together

  14. I just finished using my T-shirt to wipe my tears. What you wrote sent me back to when I turned four. I was dancing in my hand-me-down dress and barefooted in the alley behind our apartment. I was singing out ‘It’s my birthday!’ over and over. I was alone in my twirls as an African-American woman carried her ironing board down the alley. As I proudly told her ‘It’s my birthday!’ she handed me a bag of butterscotch candy. I really had no idea what having a birthday meant. I only had my two older siblings for reference by age 4. I was shocked at given this gift. I was filled with JOY before and after! (like you were filled with bravery and confidence!). Within that year an uncle who was married into my father’s family finger-raped me…. I lost my joy, my trust. It can still be elusive to this day due to other’s abuse, but there are moments when it is all about the here and now…and I feel pure joy again… I get your quest. We can interlace joy and confidence back in to our individual lives, Jane. Btw, my birthday is the summer solstice… June 21st.

  15. Happy Birthday Jane! I find you so fascinating and wise! I have been teaching group exercise ( we used to call it aerobics

  16. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I like to “sit down in your thinking”.

    I do wish, though, that you would record these (audio) sometimes. It would be truly a joy to close my eyes here and listen to some of your posts. Remember how everyone loved the sound of Katherine Hepburn’s voice? Well, you’ve got one of those — in a whole different way — distinct and beautiful speaking voices. I love the oral tradition of storytelling. A spoken voice is such a powerful too.

  17. Thank you for that excellent idea for encouraging oneself! For reminding oneself of one’s own courage! I like it very much and might just give it a try, myself. I can see all kinds of possibilities for it.
    All the best to you and yours for the Christmas season, and Happy Birthday! You make 77 look damn good.

  18. Dear Jane,
    Your birthday sounds splendid. First of all, you don’t remotely look your age! Incredible.
    Better still….you’re still growing and glowing and shining your light, ever wider, ever brighter.
    How inspiring. I am nearly 67 and I surely wish there had been a Teen Site like yours when I was traversing those painful years. How healing it is….you are making a real difference.
    Don’t know if you follow astrology, but Saturn just glided into Sagittarius the other day…..
    so you’ll likely be feeling a deepening of connection with yourself. Your altar sounds beautiful.
    I did something similar a few years ago when living in Virginia Beach. I hung a photo of myself on my Christmas Tree…honoring my developing Christ Consciousness. It was a significant step in self-love and acceptance.
    Blessings and love, Jane.
    Linda Schiller-Hanna


  20. “Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el rey David.
    Hoy por ser día de tu santo, te las cantamos a ti.

    Despierta mi bien, despierta, mira que ya amaneció
    ya los pajarillos cantan la luna ya se metió.

    Qué linda está la mañana en que vengo a saludarte
    venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte.

    El día en que tu naciste nacieron todas las flores
    y en la pila del bautismo cantaron los ruiseñores

    Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del día nos dio.
    Levántate de mañana mira que ya amaneció.”

    All my love.

  21. Happy birthday Jane! How many people can say they climbed a mountain when they turned 77 – amazing! As for this: “creating a small place where I can put things that remind me, conjure up in me, the qualities that represent my best self” – what a great idea for bolstering self-esteem.
    I hope you have a very merry Christmas (and will tell us all about it in a blog ;)) xx

  22. Hey Jane!! I so wish you’d tell me if you have ever met Julie Christie . That’s all! Thanks in advance! Lots of love!! Bianca:))

    • Blanca, yes, I know Julie Christie–a beautiful woman inside and out.

      • Thank you very, very much for answering me!
        I wish you and Julie had worked together!! Well, maybe in the two are my very favorites along with Natalie Wood!! xx

  23. Dear Jane, Happy belated birthday! Merry Christmas!! And a Happy New Year!!! Lovely post. Especially about the parts about where we choose to let our thoughts reside. Sometimes, I find myself being almost entirely without empathy, gratitude or love. Those times are becoming less frequent, however, as I am able to recognize (now) destructive though patterns as they begin. Instead of feeling guilty about them, I sit and do some research (either internally or by breaking down the thoughts into more digestible, less consuming pieces. Words have such power. Your bravery, Jane, more than anything else about you is your talent, your beauty — and our treasure. Thank you for sharing pieces of yourself, in time, with us. (It’s been a contemplative few months for me. I find myself growing ever stronger, and ever gentler.) Love, Peter

  24. Dear Jane,

    I wish you the very best for your birhday.
    I cannot believe hat you are now 77 years old – that motivates me to
    continue to make sport.
    Kind regards

    ate with my birhday wishes

  25. Happy Belated Birthday! Just joined your wonderful site as Mom and I were watching the TCM movies your Dad’s marathon…truly gifted…

  26. How tricky our thoughts can be. It’s easy to deceive and distract ourselves with numbers, objects, and symbols. We desire things that remind us of what we love. We yearn to bring back certain feelings. How quickly we find ourselves feeling out of sorts. Off track and willing ourselves to climb the mountain. Climb it and get back on track. Still it’s not there. We yearn. We try again. Why did we slip? Why did we stumble? We become unsteady and unsure. Determined, we are resilient. We are brave and daring. We go on. Why are we not yet where we want to be? Take away the noise. Take away the things.
    Prayer. Faith. God.
    God, bring us together in peace. Remind us we are one. Unite us in love and humility.

  27. Happy birthday, Jane. Every time I pick up one of your books, it opens at just the right page. When I revisited a few of your films, many years later, I realised where some of my wiring had come from – “But, but, I thought that was me!”. Thank you, for everything you have done and are doing, to make the world a better place. Many happy returns!

  28. … you are catching up to the MAC Naughty Templar RAFFA God doG’s esoteric christian moderate neoconservative philosophy P … Happy Birthday and better late than never sexy Angel <3 ^_~ //

  29. Happy Birthday, Jane. I too, am a Dec. birthday(23) and just turned 63. I have
    received so much inspirtation after listening to your audio books(much better to hear you read it). Thank you for the knowledge and wisdom you share. I’ve read and listened several times to your latest book and each time, I gain more insight and knowledge about our human psyche. I’m a true believer in being a “life-long learner”. After teaching for 35 years, I am trying to teach myself how to slow down and breathe. I still haven’t figured out how to meditate but I am going to keep trying. You are wonderful!

  30. Happy belated Birthday to a favorite all time, beautiful (all the way around) actor! Just joined so I’m a bit late. Also just watched This Is Where I Leave You; brilliant! So relatable. Funny! Great cast. Looking forward to seeing more great films with you. Have always adored you.

  31. Happy Birthday Jane. I have great memories of you coming into the bookstore at Glorieta with your beautiful golden retriever. We spent a considerable amount of time looking at Christian videos for your grandson. I recall that Virginia had gifted your grandson a Veggie Tales video and you wanted to know what others were available. Praying you have indeed made your heart a manger where the Christ child can be born. Wishing you many more birthdays and Christmases in the mountains of the land of enchantment.

  32. Dear Jane, Our birthdays are a day apart! I hope you had a good one this year. I celebrated #61 but with some pain this year. My husband Brian got the flu the beginning of January and everyone was shocked that he passed away on January 29th at age 57. Previously, I’d always thought that the flu was life threatening only to those who had something like cancer. In the past eleven months, the Lord has helped me to get through each day and to continue to parent our newly adopted 12 year old daughter Nina. We’ve read and thought a lot about Heaven lately. Have you ever read the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn? You would LOVE it!!

  33. Ms. Fonda:

    First, a belated but happy birthday to you. As we mature and accrue life experience and wisdom, every year that arrives and comes to pass is one for which we learn to be grateful; even though at times — often of crisis and tribulation — and, no matter our age, we sometimes feel as lost and vulnerable as we did in our more youthful years. But that’s all a part of life, isn’t it? We must adapt, or else begin to suffer from atrophy (and who needs that?!).

    Second, regarding occasions of backsliding: We all do it, don’t we? Sometimes elements come into our life by which we find ourselves daunted and exhausted. At times, too much seems like “too much,” and not enough ever seems to be “enough.” What I remind myself when such times come into my life — when self-doubt arises; when my ability to engender “social grace” begins to fray — is that I have the power to consider it from two perspectives: 1) Give in and be miserable; or 2) Utilize the challenges as a way to rediscover worth, love, and patience. For though doubt can be a volatile thing, it doesn’t have to sink us completely (unless, of course, we instill it with that power). Rather, what I try to do is consider said challenges from a different perspective (perhaps that’s just the writer in me; ha ha & wink wink). Are not moments of doubt and episodes of backsliding good opportunities for us to reconsider, recognize, and implement our worth as human beings?

    And here’s something else that’s wonderful: that you are human enough to admit — and to share with others — that your confidence is not always operating at its optimum potential. What that means? That you are human… just like everyone else living on this planet. For I think often people consider other people who are talented, famous, and monetarily wealthy as living rather a charmed life. Now, that may seem like a pretty good daydream (for some); but it is, alas, a dream: illusory, ethereal. And the fact that you dare to be honest, that you dare to say, “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows”– Well, it makes my heart glad.

    The other evening, “Coming Home” was on television. Of course, I have the DVD (as well as the screenplay), and I’ve watched, studied, enjoyed, and been very moved by the film many times; but naturally I had to switch the channel and watch some of the film again. The scene upon which I happened occurs late in the story, when Sally and Luke return to his place after she has retrieved him from the police station following his protest. Luke had just come out of the bathroom to find Sally on the bed, still in her coat and, with her straightened hair, looking very much like “cheery Sally, the captain’s wife.” As I watched the scene, I fell again into a deep respect for what motion pictures are at their best. It’s a scene in which we are reminded of the importance of communication, of sharing, of being vulnerable, of connecting with another human being. And, most important: of being capable of feeling and extending empathy to others.

    Do you know what occurred to me at that moment? “Empathy” is something you’ve been exercising with others for a very long time. Not only in your art, but in your life. Yes: in your very existence.

    How wonderful and empowering it is to realize that. To really see it and know and revere it for what it is. In my art, I’m most interested in exploring the human condition. I want to know why we’re here, and what it means, and the things we can do to be better people, both individualistically and communally. It’s something to which I also aspire in my life. As E. M. Forster said so succinctly, “Only connect.” I believe that. I embrace that.

    And I embrace you, too, for being, in so exemplary a way, a person who not only understands this, and its importance, but also lives it. We are each a shrine, when you think about it. Our best resides within; our best is manifested when we allow it to burgeon without.

    What a lovely thing to realize.

    As always, warmest regards,


  34. I wish you a Happy belated Birthday Jane and a Happy New Year. Thank you for the interesting blog post as always.

  35. I wish you a Happy belated Birthday. Sorry, but I have thought of you on December 21.
    And I wish you a very, very Happy New Year with much joy and happiness for you and your family
    Your post is wise , full of philosophy ! you are beautifull inside and out. xxx

  36. Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday, and many more, you are an amazing woman.

  37. Hey Jane…just sitting here reading this store and anticipating my 65th in a couple of weeks. For some reason this year really started to bother me then I read all the feelings that you have that are no different than any of the rest of us. I too and many I know share that all of a sudden lack of confidence. (OMG Xanax can help but let’s not do that all the time) Sometimes I think the world is all to focused on youth. How strange when there are more of us than them…the “silver tsunami” as they say. Love your blogs, your stories and more… Your beautiful and inspiring but deeper than that your words help empower us to look deeper into ourselves. I love your shrine idea..I’m running with that one. Perhaps you should have a talk show or sirrus show called “dear jane” and include women around you that are not “hollywood icons” but just women who have the same deep feelings that are common to all us…we do all have that common thread amongst us. I would be the first to apply to be on your team or at least tune in everyday to boost my spirit…your a rockstart Jane…never stop!!!!

  38. Ms. Fonda,
    I have always admired your strength, beauty and ability to convey truth, honesty and genuine believability in your acting. I was a dancer professionally and admire such talent. Loved 33 Variations and spoke with you afterward about the ‘child like innocence that happens to people as they age”…..I have a dear friend that I perform with, James ‘Gypsy’ Haake, now 84 and still in heels in Palm Springs. He sends his love to you and has such fond memories of ‘The Morning After’……..we both say Happy Birthday and much respect and love.

  39. Was the Birthday celebrated in Livingston? Both you and Peter still look the same! Back in the day I used to hang out with Justin. I didn’t even know Peter was still around. Just looking at the mountains is a great way to celebrate your birthday.

  40. Hello Jane,
    I know I am super late writing back on this blog. A very interesting fact we almost share the same birthday. Mine is December 23rd. I like having a birthday close to Christmas too. I am a Christian also and I feel the Holiday Season is the best (Easter too) because we take time out and focus on Jesus and how he had lived his life and what all he had done for us. I like what you had said about the shrine to yourself which is why I had commented. I myself am feeling blessed confident of myself at times and sometimes just feel out of place. I have always been the shy/ quiet type. I am trying to meet new people and become more confident. I had always Thought that you were very confident!! I wish I could become more like that. I love your oroginal workout dvd that is helping boost it a lot. I use to be like a doormat and was bad about letting people use me and take advantage of me. I feel I have gotten better about that in recent years. Do you have any tips on boosting self confidence? I know some months have
    Past since this was written. 🙂

    • Exercising helps, Megan. Getting enough sleep. I think that for some people, me included, retaining self confidence is an ongoing struggle. I work on this all the time. Being successful and famous does not guarantee confidence. It takes work.

  41. Thank You Jane for your wonderful advice. I am doing your original work out dvd and love it!! I just finished reading your book “My Life So Far”. Very good book!! I couldn’t put it down once I had received it. I feel part of my problem was I was a people pleaser and Did what I could to please. You offer good advice about that too. I don’t have that issue anymore. I now know I need to continue to exercise and eat better. My self esteem has gone up a lot since beginning your exercise program. Thank you so much!!! Its fun too!!!! I hope that you can make it out to Texas one of these days so I can possibly try and meet you.

  42. I wish you a very happy birthday 🙂 May you live long and stay blessed. 🙂
    Find some birthday wishes for him here.

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