Tips For Adulthood: Five Things Barbra Streisand Taught Me

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

This Wednesday’s list comes from the interview I watched last Friday night with Barbra Streisand on the Jonathan Ross show. As I gushed on Monday, I think there are a lot of things about Barbra that make her truly admirable. But some of what I learned about her during this interview also resonated with my views on adulthood:

1. Be Gutsy. One mark of adulthood is the willingness to put yourself out there. Streisand is nothing if not gutsy. In addition to her many different professional endeavors, she’s been outspoken on her political views for years. Have a look at her website. In addition to the usual fan memorabilia and updates about her new album, there are links to articles about public policy and a list of “truth alerts” to correct public figures when she thinks they are lying. Gutsiness is also a feature of her personal life. In the Jonathan Ross interview, she told the story of how – the first time she met her husband – she reached out and touched his hair without thinking. That act sparked a relationship of 11 years (and counting…).

2. Be Vulnerable. At the same time, it’s important to admit your weaknesses. My favorite moment in the Ross interview was when she confessed that she’s terrified about performing in front of live audiences where she can see people’s eyes. Huh? 30 top ten albums and you get nervous in front of crowds? But she does. And that explains why she so rarely performs in small venues like nightclubs. I liked her more once she admitted this about herself.

3. Try Different Things Inside Your Career. What sets Streisand aside from many other stars of her generation is the sheer variety of things that she’s done in her life professionally (and succeeded at). Actress. Singer. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Producer. Director. She simply hasn’t allowed herself to get stale and that’s because she’s always taking on new challenges.

4. Try Different Things Outside Your Career. But equally impressive are the things she’s done outside her career. In addition to her foundation – which has contributed money to all sorts of political and environmental causes – she’s currently at work on a book…about architecture. Lots of celebrities write auto-biographies and it looks like she’ll do that, too. But in the meantime, she’s thinking mostly about design. Wow.

5. Don’t Write Off Plastic Surgery. Hey, I’m not usually one to advocate “getting work done.” But I must say, Barbra has clearly put herself under the knife and she looks pretty impressive for 67. It made me think twice, anyway…


Guess he’s not Jewish after all. Or maybe he is. Read my follow on about Ahmadinejad’s alleged Jewish roots here

Image: Village Vanguard by Luizfilipe via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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3 Responses to Tips For Adulthood: Five Things Barbra Streisand Taught Me

  1. […] someone out of her reach.) And that’s what growing up is all about, isn’t it? Learning how to live with disappointment and fear, but also how to protect ourselves from getting […]

  2. […] for someone out of her reach.) And that’s what growing up is all about, isn’t it? Learning how to live with disappointment and fear, but also how to protect ourselves from getting […]

  3. […] 2. Push Yourself. In addition to her preparedness, what I really love about this new teacher is how she structures the class. She starts out really mellow and gets you thinking that it’s going to be a gentle class. But as you go on, you start repeating the poses over and over, each time with a bit more difficulty. And you realize that she’s actually extending you quite a bit from where you started. I think the reason she does this is to show us all that we can and should do more with our bodies (and ourselves). And sometimes, it’s that extra little push that really matters. Not just to really get the most out of a given stretch, but to have the confidence to know that you are capable of doing more. […]

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