At age 101, Norman Lear is still finding his joy. To mark his 101st birthday on Thursday, the prolific, Emmy-winning TV producer shared some “#breakfastthoughts” with his nearly 60,000 Instagram followers.
“It’s Norman Lear here, dribbling a bit because he’s entering his second childhood,” the man behind All in the Family and The Jeffersons began. “I’ve just turned 101, and that is, they tell me, my second childhood. It feels like that, in terms of the care I’m getting. I get the kind of care at this age that I see children getting, toddlers getting. And so I am now a 101-year-old toddler, and I’m thinking about two little words that we don’t think about often enough, we don’t pay enough attention to: over and next. When something is over, it is over, and we have the joy and privilege of getting on to the next [thing]. And if there were a hammock in the middle between those two words, it would be the best way I know of identifying living in the moment.”
Lear’s vast TV portfolio includes legendary sitcoms like Maude, Good Times, and One Day at a Time, the revival of which concluded on Pop in 2020 after being canceled by Netflix. He concluded his birthday post with the words, “I am living in that moment now, with all of you. Bless all of you, and our America.” His comments section was filled with well-wishes from celebrities including Octavia Spencer, John Mayer, and Judd Apatow, who said Lear is “always an inspiration.”
The writer-producer, who regularly posts video remarks on Instagram, previously told Vanity Fair of his “over and next” motto. Elsewhere in his 2021 Proust questionnaire, Lear stated that his favorite occupation was “laughing” and said he wished to die “of record-breaking old age.” When asked what he would come back as if he were to die and be reincarnated, Lear replied: “I’d like to come back as a boy to do it all over again.”