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Chatting with Marlo Thomas – Part I

 

It Aint Over

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a chat with Marlo Thomas about her new book ” It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life and Realizing Your Dreams – Anytime, at Any Age.” I’ll just refer to the book as “It Ain’t Over…”

I have been a fan of Marlo’s since her television show That Girl. I watched them as repeats since I was only an infant/toddler when they originally aired.

I also applaud Marlo for all the works she’s done for St. Jude’s Hospital, which was founded by her father the late Danny Thomas.

I have not read her new book – yet. I am supposed to be receiving a copy shortly. I am looking forward to reading it.

In a nutshell, “It Ain’t Over…” is about reinventing yourself at any age.

We’ve heard it all before:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

But anyone who has ever tried to make a big life change knows it can be a bit more complicated— and frightening—than that. How do you get up the nerve and confidence to actually take the leap? No one knows better than the women profiled in this powerful book by actress, activist, and bestselling author Marlo Thomas.

“It Ain’t Over . . . ” introduces us to sixty amazing women who are proving that it’s never too late to live out a dream—to launch a business, travel the world, get a PhD, indulge a creative impulse, make a family recipe famous, escape danger, find love, or fill a void in life with a challenging new experience. Meet a graphic artist who fulfilled a childhood ambition by going to med school at age forty-two; a suburban mom whose innovative snack recipe for her daughter’s lunchbox turned into a multimillion-dollar business; a private-practice psychiatrist who convinced her husband that they should quit their jobs and take off on an exciting, open-ended, cross-country adventure—in a giant bus, no less!; and a middle-aged English teacher who, devastated to discover that her husband was cheating on her, refused to be a victim, filed for divorce, and began the challenging journey of rebuilding her life.

Brimming with anecdotes that will inspire smiles, tears, and—most of all—hope, “It Ain’t Over…” speaks to women of all ages with an empowering message: The best is yet to come!

I’m going to be 46 in a couple of weeks (blah!). I’m not looking forward to it.

I always tell people that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – and it’s true. I mean, I had goals and dreams when I was younger but now, at my age, I don’t see them as being viable options for me anymore. I need to find other ways to reinvent myself and live my life to it’s fullest. My problem is that I don’t know where to start. That is why I am anxious to read the book – for inspiration and motivation.

During our chat session with Marlo we were able to ask her questions about her book, and more. Marlo had a lot to say. As much as I’d love to include the entire chat with my readers, for the sake of time and space I’ll just share with you the highlights.

I’ll break this up into multiple posts because I feel like Marlo had a lot of important things to say that might ring true with some readers.

Before the questions even began this is what Marlo had to say.

One of the things that I’ve learned is the first thing you have to do is never face the facts or you won’t get out of bed in the morning.  That’s my mantra, anyway.  I have that hanging over my computer.  People are always telling you that you can’t do it.  You don’t have enough money, or you’re too young, or you’re too old, or you’re too tall, or you’re too short, or whatever.  Don’t listen to any of those facts.  Make up your own facts.  That’s the first thing.

The second thing, maybe the dream that you have needs another skill set.  Maybe in order to get to that dream, you have to learn something new.  Or maybe you should intern somewhere where you want to work, in the field you want to work.  Everybody is very happy to hire you for nothing, so you can intern somewhere and learn what you want to do.

Maybe it’s too scary to start alone, so maybe you need to do with a girlfriend, or a couple girlfriends, or with your mom, or with somebody, with your boyfriend, with your husband, whoever is in your life.  Maybe the two or three of you need to get together to do it.  The most important thing is to try to figure out what is something that you love to do?

Question: How did you discover the women that you’re portraying in the book?

Marlo: I went out on my Facebook and Twitter pages and asked for them, if anybody wanted to start over and was looking for advice or wanted to share their story.  We got thousands of answers. As you know, I work for AOL and Huffington Post, so I went on their Facebook pages.  Then I also found some women in the country that I hired and asked them to go through local stories. I didn’t want to miss anybody.

Question: Sometimes people believe that only those with money, or a degree, can reinvent themselves.  How would you encourage those people to get past the “I can’t?”

Marlo: First of all, almost all people who have started businesses started with nothing.  I’m sure there others that had money to start other businesses, but most of the women in my book started with nothing and had to go, as I say, learn a skill set, intern somewhere, borrow money, go in with a friend.  Those are the ways in which people start businesses.  I think that a lot of the women in the book did start with absolutely zero.  Some of the women were already in a business and then wanted to start over in another business, but there are all types in the book.

But to people who don’t have anything, and don’t know how to start, I think those are the ways in which to start, which is to take a step every single day and figure out what is it that you want to do and do you know enough about it?  Do you need another class to learn about it?  Do you need to borrow money?  Do you need to go in with a friend, or three friends, to start this business?  Will you all pool your talents and your money?  I think it’s very doable for somebody starting from zero.  I really do.

Question: I’m interested in the fact that you interviewed women of different ages and of different generations such as boomers, the Greatest Generation, Generation X, and Generation Y.  During the course of interviewing each of those generations, did you notice differences or similarities among the women? 

Marlo: I felt that they were mostly stuck.  They were stuck in a place that they didn’t know how to get out of.  They had to work really hard to reinvent themselves from feeling like they were in a hole.  Whether they had been laid off at a job, or whether they were stuck in a job they didn’t like and they felt they couldn’t get anywhere in it, or they didn’t like their boss, or they didn’t like the whole atmosphere of their job. They had a dream in the back of their mind, but they never really could get to that dream because they had to make a living to raise their kids or be a part of supplementing the family income.  Now was the time that they wanted to at last go back and pick up that dream.  I think that there were all different situations that they were in, but mostly they felt stuck.

Feeling stuck was a common theme. Now they felt that maybe they could go after it because they had saved a little money.  A lot of it was, how do you start?  How do I start?  I don’t know how to start.  That’s why, when I was saying the thing about one step a day.  Just do something every single day.

If you want to get somewhere in six months, if you do something every single day, and I really mean every single day, you will be way further along in six months.  One of those can be meeting a person who thinks like you that wants to do it, too.  That could be one day.  The next day could be learning a new skill set, taking a class, signing up for a class.

Just keep doing something every single day.  My acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, used to say, acting is not in the mind.  It’s in the doing.  That’s the same with life.  You can’t sit home and wish for it and talk to your friends about it.  You have to do something.  Do something every single day to get to where you want to go.

This concludes Part I. I’ll post Part II with Marlo tomorrow.

PHOTO SOURCE: Marlo Thomas' Facebook page

PHOTO SOURCE: Marlo Thomas’ Facebook page

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I am posting this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.

About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.

Comments

  1. Robin Wilson says

    I know exactly where you’re coming from. I’ll be 52 in August and have had Lupus since I was 17. I know it’s a different ballgame, but I’ve just always wanted to be normal. Guess I’m still trying to figure out how to get as close as I can.