Having just celebrated a "milestone birthday", here is my biggest takeaway after 60 years on the planet: There is great value in being fearless. For too much of my life, I was too afraid, too frightened by it all. That fear is one of my biggest regrets. I wish I had put myself out there a little bit more and experienced people more instead of protecting myself. I spent a lot of time protecting myself. I mean, I've met a lot of extraordinary people over the years -- and I just wish I had been able to open myself up to them more.
I remember when I was filming "Godfather III." My father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and I flew home. He told me, "I only wish I'd done more. I wish I had worked less at something I didn't really enjoy." I've been blessed to work at something I love, but I wish his words had emboldened me more.
I've spent a lot of my life worrying -- especially when I was younger. I used to listen to Judy Garland all the time -- I love Judy Garland and her music. But I started to realize that if you keep singing like that, singing songs of being victimized by love over and over and over again, it can't help but have a profound effect on your life. At a certain point, you're programming yourself to become a victim of love. And I decided that that wasn't for me, so I forged ahead. And I feel like I've managed to avoid becoming a victim to that particular kind of love.
A sense of freedom is something that, happily, comes with age and life experience. In "The Second Sex", Simone de Beauvior says that as they approach 50, a lot of women are set free from the anxiety and the mortification and the humiliation of intimate relationships with men -- the opposite sex. For some reason, you are suddenly free from it. And thank god for that.
It's the upside of sticking around this long.