Susan Sarandon is certainly an icon of our generation, unabashedly middle-aged and still hot. She's another kind of role model as well, standing up for her political and social values, even getting arrested during protests. And, until recently, she seemed to have a perfect relationship with Tim Robbins, her partner of more than 20 years — until they split.
The Telegraph scored a lengthy interview with Sarandon in which she talks about her life, her work and, yes, the Big Split. While Sarandon is a movie star, and the rest of us are not (unless, Demi, you're reading this), her story provides words of wisdom for all of us going through life changes, scheduled and prepared for or not.
Here's Susan Sarandon's Guide to Reinvention 101:
Accept that things change. Sarandon hints that she and Robbins split up simply because they had grown apart, telling interviewer Helena de Bertodano, "You bring people into your life at certain times. Maybe you have a relationship to have children and you realize that it's fulfilled after that point." Our ideal of marriage is two vines twining together as one eternally. In reality, a lot happens in 20 or 25 years. You and your former mate are not the same people you were when you married. The person you want to hold onto may not exist anymore.
Pick a totally new direction. After a successful acting career, Sarandon has thrown herself into, of all things, a ping-pong parlor, which has become one of the hottest clubs in New York. We may not have the funds to invest in a groovy new business venture, but we all can take classes at community college or volunteer at a non-profit.
Keep it light. There are plenty of juicy rumors that Sarandon is involved with her ping-pong business partner, Jonathan Bricklin. She's not telling. But if she is emotionally involved, she's avoided any of those rebound moves like moving in with him and announcing to the world that this new love is the best thing that ever happened, etc. etc. Dating after the breakup of a long relationship can seem so fraught. If you are seeing someone, try to avoid the Relationship Talk and just see where it goes.
Have a fun relationship. Bricklin, Sarandon's maybe-maybe-not, is 31 to Sarandon's 63. It's not a totally impossible age difference, but it's probably hard for them to take their relationship totally seriously. A clearly non-serious relationship makes it easier for you to have fun without worrying about where things are going. Instead of looking for Ms. or Mr. Right, spend time going after Ms. or Mr. Fun.
Go after what you want. This may be the first time in 20 years when you don't have to take into consideration how your desires or goals will affect your family. So, go for it. In the interview, Sarandon tells an anecdote about landing her breakout role that doubtless reflects how she lives her life.
Determined to play the part of Annie, an unorthodox baseball groupie in Bull Durham (1988), she paid her own travel expenses to go for the audition.
"They told me they wanted someone else and wouldn't even pay for my plane. I felt so humiliated, but I felt it was such a great part that I had to do everything I could to get it. The only reason I got it was because the people they really wanted wouldn't even read for it."
Let's make a pact to be as fearless and determined in going after what we want in our second 50 years.