Healthy Living

Nora Ephron’s Wit & Wisdom on Being Over 50

Remember these brilliant quotes? Here are some of Nora’s thoughts and tips about life:

After her marriage to her third and last husband: “Secret to life – marry an Italian.”

She had her hair professionally blow-dried twice a week: “It’s cheaper by far than psychoanalysis and much more uplifting.”

Her thoughts on marriage: “The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

Advice on raising children: “When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

Thoughts about gray hair: “There’s a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don’t look the way they used to, and it’s not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It’s because of hair dye. In the 1950s only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.”

Personal questions: “Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”

Thoughts on technology: “I am living in the Google years, no question of that. And there are advantages to it. When you forget something, you can whip out your iPhone and go to Google. The Senior Moment has become the Google moment, and it has a much nicer, hipper, younger, more contemporary sound, doesn’t it? By handling the obligations of the search mechanism, you almost prove you can keep up…”

On her appearance: “I look as young as a person can look given how old I am.”

On divorce: “The divorce has lasted way longer than the marriage, but finally it’s over. Enough about that.The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me.And now it’s not.”

Her intimate fantasies: “In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind.”

She observed that eight hours a week devoted to maintenance is what kept her from looking like a bag lady: “Eight hours a week and counting. By the time I reach my seventies, I’m sure it will take at least twice as long. The only consolation I have in any of this is that when I’m very old and virtually unemployable, I will at least have something to do. Assuming, of course, that I haven’t spent all my money doing it.”

On aging: “No one likes to be old The most they will cop up to is that they’re older. Or oldish.”

On friendship: “The thing with friends when you get older – I mean this is not anything I haven’t written about – is they can’t be replaced. When you’re 30, you accumulate friends and you shed friends and you get closer at certain moments to some than others. And you have a huge bench of friends. And then that’s just not true.”

Her parting words: “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

When Harry Met Sally was a huge hit. Sleepless in Seattle (she shared the screenwriting credit), brought Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together so winningly, that they were cast again in You’ve Got Mail, which she also wrote. Nora turned her painful breakup with her second husband, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, into the best-selling novel Heartburn. In 1983, she wrote Silkwood – a film based on the life of Karen Silkwood, who died under suspicious circumstances white investigating abuse at a plutonium plant where she had worked. Two essay collections, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman (2006) and I Remember Nothing (2010), were both best sellers. In addition, she wrote a play with her sister Delia about women and their wardrobes, called Love, Loss, and What I Wore.

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