I’ve been a big fan of Jane Pauley for decades…and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Let’s face it — we Boomers, practically all 80 million of us — came of age right alongside Jane, one of the most likeable and charismatic women of our media age. Since she burst onto the national screen in 1976, she’s been right there with us for the wild ride we’ve all been on since then. Jane’s ride was no less wild – 13 years on the Today Show with its grueling daily demands, 12 years as a co-host of Dateline NBC, and more recently, her Life Reimagined project with AARP and NBC News.
I am reminded of Jane’s timeless media presence because she’s still at it…again. She’s right in the middle of a media blitz to promote her new, and wonderful book: Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. It seems like only yesterday that she showed up every weekday morning at the Today Show desk next to Tom Brokaw and Gene Shalit.
A few weeks ago, CBS News Sunday Morning devoted a lengthy profile segment to Jane, her new book and her career. It featured lots of archival video — the “highlights” of a long career in front of the camera. Perhaps the most inspirational was a clip from her early days on Today. It was an unabashed proclamation of her then-tender age – a mere 25 – in the face of public criticism at the time that she was too young and inexperienced to fill Barbara Walters’ chair.
Jane didn’t defend her age — or that of the Baby Boom generation. Instead, she declared the Most Valuable Generation’s destiny to express, question, be counted and ultimately assume power, influence and leadership in every aspect of society: politics, education, business, the arts, culture…you name it.
So here she is years later, at an equally exciting (older) age…and steadfastly urging her peers to dance to the beat of their own drummer. Her newest book, reminds us that though we’ve aged, we’re not stopping. Instead we are restarting and reimagining the next “Act” of our lives.
Thank you Jane — for all the years that you helped us make sense of the world — and now, for the inspiration and courage to re-imagine who we are at the dawn of “The Age of Aging.”