The Wiser than Me Podcast
I got a new car! Moving up from a 2011 compact SUV to a 2023 model has been exciting! I had no idea vehicles had changed so much. Among other things, my new car has a backup camera. It has blind spot monitors. It has sensors that let me know if I wiggle out of my lane and sensors that slow me down when I am on cruise control and am getting too close to the car in front of me. All of these are great, but here’s what I like best about the vehicle: CarPlay! This is a 9” X 5” monitor on the dashboard that brings all my phone’s apps into the car. I am learning a lot with the new car – and I don’t just mean how to use the technology – because here’s the thing, thanks to CarPlay, I have lots of podcasts available to me with a simple scroll of the screen. Thus, I recently found myself driving around town with – and learning from – Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jane Fonda. Here’s the scoop…
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a new podcast!
It was while watching an HBO documentary about Jane Fonda (JF) that Julia Louis-Dreyfus (JLD) realized we don’t hear much about the lives of older women. Indeed, it seemed to her that these women are often dismissed. To rectify this, she created a podcast in which she would seek out such women and explore their extraordinary lives. The resulting ten-part podcast, Wiser Than Me, premiered April 11, 2023.
Since the genesis of the idea came about while watching Jane Fonda in Five Acts, it was only fitting that JF became the first guest of the show.
Really, though, Jane Fonda looks at her 85-year life as occurring in three acts:
JF tells us that when she turned 59, the thought of turning 60 loomed large on the horizon. Feeling she would probably not live past 90, she saw her life in 30-year sections and realized she was soon beginning her last act. Instinctively, she knew it needed to do three things. It needed to make sense of the first two acts, assure a legacy to be left behind, and guarantee that she would die with no regrets.
She later discovered that her year of introspection is a named activity. Psychologist, psychiatrists, and gerontologists call it a life review. JF encourages other people to embark upon one.
Some other tidbits from (or about) JF:
- At 85, she knows she is over the hill, but tells us there are whole new vistas there, not to mention new hills.
- When asked what advice she would give to her 21-year-old self, she responded: “No is a complete sentence.” She attributed the quote to an author she loves, Anne Lamott.
- Someone once asked her what she had ever done besides being Henry Fonda’s daughter. She did not seem as huffy over that comment as I felt, so let me say that according to IMDB, she has 64 credits as an actor and five as a producer. Wikipedia adds her two Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and various lifetime achievement awards. And let’s not forget her years as an activist. Extraordinary life!
And while I am naming credentials and famous fathers, did you know all this about JLD?
She is actually an heiress and she comes from a long line of money. Her great-great-grandfather founded the Louis Dreyfus Group. Her father was the chairman of one of its subsidiaries, Louis Dreyfus Energy Services. At his death in 2016, his estate was valued at four billion dollars. Clearly, she could have rested comfortably on this pile of cash, but instead, she built an amazing career.
Those who loved her on Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Veep are clearly glad she didn’t choose to live her life as a trust fund baby. According to Wikipedia, all these acting credits have earned her eleven Primetime Emmy Awards, one Golden Globe, and nine Screen Actors Guild Awards. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and the National Medal of Arts. She has also been inducted into Television Academy Hall of Fame.
So, there you have it, not one, but TWO extraordinary women with more to come.
Already recorded episodes of the podcast feature:
- Isabel Allende (80)
- Fran Lebowitz (72)
- Ruth Reichl (75)
- Darlene Love (81)
- Diane von Furstenberg (76)
- Carol Burnett (90)
Each episode of the podcast ends with JLD placing a call to her 89-year-old mother, Judy Bowles, as she unpacks what she learned from her guest.
Of all the things I liked about this show, that might be my favorite part, a daughter calling her mom. Coincidentally, that’s how this whole story started – my daughter called me. She told me she was shopping for the safest car for her teenage child and realized the same car would be safest for me. Thus, I bought a new car with lots of safety features. I love it! I especially love listening to podcasts on CarPlay! But in keeping with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ theme of wise words from older women, let me close with a reminder to all who own this fun car feature: It is important to pick out podcasts while safely parked in the garage, not while actually driving!
With that in mind, I’ll hope to drive my new car and listen to podcasts happily – and safely – ever after.
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