Leslie Caron’s interview with Jane Pauley on last weekend’s CBS Sunday Morning reminded me of the strides women have made over the last half-century. And it reminded me that, even if a woman has made regrettable choices, no matter how good the reason, you still have time to make it better. In the interview, Caron drove home a point to all of us in midlife: Your life isn’t over until it’s over.
The eighty-four year old Caron started her career at age nineteen. She was picked by the much older Gene Kelly to play opposite him in An American in Paris. The movie pushed her into stardom, complete with the awards to prove it. She was a major star in the 1950’sand 1960’s.
Then she married man and had two children. He wanted her to stay home. And Caron did, giving up her career. “It was a different time,” she explains and the regret on her face and in her eyes is so sad.
Today, however, things would be different. Caron would wag her finger at him and say “Now look here.” She wouldn’t give up her career but acknowledges, “It took women a very long time to say, “I'm me, I exist. My life has to be fulfilled, too.'"
Do you ever feel like that? And haven’t you ever felt like you do and do but never get all the kudos you deserve? You wonder if anyone notices…or even cares. And you stop dreaming.
Caron did and, in her 2010 memoir, Thank Heaven, decided, 'The best part of my life is over. Now is the time to reflect.'" When Pauley asked Caron about it, she laughed, conceding that she now disagrees with her younger self. "Okay, and I reflect that it's not over!"
And she’s proving it. She’s back to performing. In 2007, Caron won an Emmy for her role in a Law and Order episode about a rapist. Her performance was riveting. (Law and Order SVU, Season 8, Episode 3, “Recall” and you can see it on HULU). Her first movie, An American in Paris, is now a Broadway play. It’s brought Caron’s career a whole new kind of attention.
How about you? Your past doesn’t have to equal your future. Whatever role you played until now, if it isn’t who you are anymore, you can change it. The decision you made yesterday doesn’t have to limit the decisions you make today.
Are you ready to reflect “that it’s not over” and commit yourself to your bigger life. Isn’t it time to move the dreams you put on the back burner up to the front? If Caron can do it – in her eighties! – so can you.
See the whole interview: CBS Sunday Morning
Photo source: http://www.movieposterdb.com/poster/4e09899f