Goldie Hawn, Eternal Optimist

The iconic actress on riding bikes with Kate Hudson, quarantine self-care, and spontaneous dance parties.

Goldie Hawn
Hawn at a photo shoot in Arlington, Va., in 1965. Photo: Joseph Klipple/Getty

Happiness is an inside job. It's all about how you choose to view life. In difficult times, we still have to find the joy. And laughing is so extraordinarily healthy for the mind and body. It changes our cells; it changes our breathing. And it's contagious! People have asked me, "What makes you laugh the most?" And I think a better question is what doesn't make me laugh.

In my family we all have the same sense of humor. It's abstract. It's circumstantial. It's a lot of filthy jokes. And we have no trouble laughing at each other either. I'm quarantining in the mountains with Kurt [Russell, Hawn's longtime partner] and the kids, and we've been RVing a lot. We rented a big one that is kind of the mother ship, and the other day, Kurt was hugging the right side of the road, when our son Wyatt [Russell] passed us in his van. I thought, "Wow, he must be speeding!" But it turned out Kurt was barely going 50 mph on the freeway, and we had a trail of cars behind us. [laughs] It was so simple, but when we sat around the campfire that night, the laughs went on for 15 minutes straight, which shows what asses we all are.

I've spent a lot of my life trying to make people laugh. For an actor and a comedian, it's a gift to be able to make someone else feel good. So in these tough times, I'm still trying to be in service in some way, only now it's with my organization, MindUP, which gives children the tools to manage their anxiety and face challenges with optimism. I started it almost 20 years ago, right after 9/11, when there were lots of kids who were feeling uncertain about the future. Parents were frenzied too, and I knew I wanted to help in any way I could.

This pandemic has similarly turned kids and adults inside out. In my own life I've been trying to refocus and appreciate the smaller moments. When I wake up, Kurt brings me coffee, which is just the sweetest, and it starts the day off great. I have my dogs in the bed with me, and I snuggle with them for a while. We have breakfast with the kids and sit around and talk. And then I go on a bike ride with Kate [Hudson, Hawn's daughter]. As scary as this time is, I try to savor every moment because I get to be with my family. This is an experience that we will all remember and learn so much from.

Still, we all have bad days. Like the other day, for instance, I started thinking, "Will I ever travel again? Will I ever see a Broadway play again? Will I ever work again?" It's easy to let these things loom over you. That's when it's time to get outside to take a deep breath or meditate, even if it's just for 10 minutes. We all need self-care. And being the best version of yourself is always a work in progress.

Whenever I am feeling a little down, I turn on some music and dance. Before I ever started acting, I was a professional dancer. So still to this day, I can't sit down for more than an hour without moving. [laughs] My mantra is, "Dance like no one is watching." So I put on some rock and roll and jump around on my trampoline. It's the greatest! Even when I'm at the market, if a good song comes on, I move around to it. My son Oliver [Hudson] says, "Mom, you're so…open." [laughs] And I say, "I'm just free!" I don't censor myself when it comes to my feelings.

When the pandemic is finally over, I have many things I want to do. I want to sit at a bar with my daughter and have a martini and see people again. I want to go back to Greece, London, and India and take a beautiful bike ride in Switzerland. I really do miss the fun of seeing new places. But human beings are adaptable. So at this moment in time, I'm just feeling grateful for my work and that I can see my family and create these memories of being together. Even if we are driving 50 mph on the freeway and everyone is honking at us. [laughs]

As told to Jennifer Ferrise.

Hawn stars in The Christmas Chronicles 2, premiering November 26 on Netflix. She is also the founder of The Goldie Hawn Foundation and its signature program MindUP.

For more stories like this, pick up the October issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Sept. 18.

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