Melissa Gilbert talks about getting older, staying young, and what she'd tell her younger self on the 50th anniversary of Little House on the Prairie.On the 50th Anniversary of Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert Reflects on Aging, Staying Vibrant, and What She'd Tell Her Younger Self

Melissa Gilbert possesses a captivating casualness and warmth. While chatting over Zoom, she appears relaxed and natural, with her dog comfortably by her side. 

Her conversation flows effortlessly, devoid of any clich├ęd phrases or forced dialogue.

 She politely goes there. "We no longer have time for casual conversation," states the 59-year-old actress in reference to women her age. "It is important that we address this matter promptly, as it will have a significant impact on our situation."

It is quite interesting to hear Gilbert discuss her experience as a woman of a certain age.

 It's worth noting that she is still remembered by many fans as the lively young girl who portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder on the cherished TV show Little House on the Prairie, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. 

Bring up Gilbert's name in a group setting, and you're bound to hear someone, usually middle-aged or older, express their fondness for her with a variation of "I love Half-Pint!" This nickname was affectionately given to her by the show's star, Michael Landon. However, Gilbert is perfectly fine with this. "I still feel just as small on the inside as I ever did," she tells us politely.

Gilbert has been thinking a lot about youthfulness and ageing lately. In her latest venture, Modern Prairie, a lifestyle brand and community aims to assist women in regaining confidence as they age. 

Gilbert delves into the genuine experiences that come with middle age and beyond, such as travelling alone, caring for ageing parents, and finding hope amidst grief. And it's all served with a warm and inviting atmosphere. 

Last week, we had a conversation with Gilbert and learned about her perspective on fostering a sense of community, her appreciation for the little things in life, and the importance of discussing the ageing process, or as she puts it, "ageing gratefully."Melissa Gilbert shares her perspective on ageing, rebuilding, and reaching the milestone of turning 60.

Building Her Brand

"It all came together during the pandemic," she mentions, reflecting on the creation of Modern Prairie, a dream she had nurtured for decades. "Suddenly, the small joys in life became the most significant - family, friends, community, love, and food." Here are the essentials.

"It's a mix of different things," she adds. "It is a reflection of women in my age range." We unfortunately have a limited amount of time available and must prioritise more important matters.

 Yes, frivolity! However, nothing is considered trivial, and our relationships and friendships have a profound depth. This depth enhances our interpersonal connections as well as our work relationships.

The Negative Effects of Focusing on the External

"There is a significant focus on the external, both globally and particularly in America," remarks Gilbert. "My husband and I enjoy long-distance drives, and we find it quite fascinating to observe the various road signs along the way." 

They seem to have a preference for fast food, plastic surgery, and attending church. May I kindly ask what the message is? Indulge in this, prioritise your well-being, and then we can enhance your external appearance to align with your desired image. It is concerning how much importance is placed on external factors.

Regarding the Myth of Anti-Aging

"We will all experience the process of ageing," she politely states. "There is no such thing as anti-aging!" There is indeed, and I often mention this: Death is the opposite of anti-aging. What about anti-aging? That expression is quite absurd."

Reflecting on Reaching 60

"I will turn 60 in May," Gilbert says with a cheerful expression. "I'm not quite sure what nearly 60 is supposed to look like." I still feel like I'm 35 years old. I am still just as lively and inquisitive. Whenever something brings me great joy, I can't help but feel a surge of excitement, as if I were a child again, around eight or nine years old.

Reflecting on Ageing with Gratitud

"In our society, age is not given the recognition it truly deserves," she says politely. "At Modern Prairie, we frequently discuss the concept of ageing with gratitude." 

We're not just gracefully maturing, which appears to be a perception imposed upon us. Could you please explain the concept of ageing gracefully? I appreciate that it seems more tangible to me. 

It's important to appreciate what we have. So, I find myself pondering: How can we age gracefully and make the most of our abilities? What is the best approach to accomplish this in a manner that promotes well-being? And how can we ensure that our efforts are recognised?"


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