Happy birthday, Rita Wilson! The actress, producer, writer, singer and Huff/Post50 editor-at-large turns 59 on Monday, Oct. 26. Rita recalled a toast her dear friend Nora Ephron gave on Rita's 50th birthday: "I am here to tell you good things can happen after turning 50." And no one illustrates this message better than Rita, who has gone from actress-producer to singer-songwriter -- with great success.
Rita continues to thrive despite facing a potentially life-altering health scare earlier this year. Rita underwent a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma. She has recovered nicely and has continued to be an outspoken advocate of living life to the fullest after 50.
To celebrate her birthday, Huff/Post50 asked Rita a few questions about life and growing older.
Huff/Post50: How have you managed to get through this year -- which included a cancer diagnosis -- with such resolve and grace?
Rita: Acceptance. I took each day a step at a time. I spoke to many survivors and women who had bilateral mastectomies. We shared information. My husband, kids and friends kept me laughing and strong. I have been meditating twice a day. I thank God every day for being on this earth and for all the many blessings in my life.
Huff/Post50: What have you learned from this experience?
Rita: I have learned to say "no" more. I have a feeling of wanting to shed unnecessary things. A positive attitude can make a world of difference going through the long process of bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. There is so much goodness out there. I was overwhelmed by the love and support I felt from people I had never met but posted on my Twitter or Facebook.
Huff/Post50: What's on your bucket list for the next year (or next five years)?
Rita: My new album will be out in February 2016. I'll be touring cross country on a bus. If that's not a bucket list item, I don't know what is! I want to visit Antarctica. I want to have a kick-ass party celebrating something and dance all night long.
Huff/Post50: What message do you have for women who fear turning 50 or 60 -- or just fear getting older?
Rita: Really, fear getting older? I can't even conceive of that. And consider the alternative! I would say, embrace it all. You couldn't possibly know at 25 what you know today. How amazing is that?
Huff/Post50: What mantra do you continue to live by?
Rita: "To thine own self be true." Polonius says it in "Hamlet". And also, the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference."
Happy birthday, Rita. May you celebrate many, many more.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.