Denzel Washington Explains The Difference Between Your 40s and 50s

Denzel Washington always has some words of knowledge and wisdom. Having been through much in his lifetime, the 66-year-old actor is often candid about his path in the hopes that it will inspire others. Creatives of all kinds often cling to Denzel Washington’s words of wisdom, as his career has proven to be extremely successful. One creative who he’s affected, Will Smith, is reflecting on some of the best advice he’s gotten from Washington.

Denzel Washington has always been vocal about his love for family and God. These sturdy roots instilled in him from a young age have carried the Fences actor throughout the years, providing him stability while still leaving room to learn and grow. In an interview with PARADE Magazine published in 1999, Washington expressed that his aim and focus has been to “send a good message” with his life and work. Reflecting on his childhood, the actor recalls almost heading down the wrong path which motivated his mother to ship him off to private school. This decision, he says, “changed my life” as it is his belief that he would not have been able to survive.

With a strong religious upbringing on his heels, Washington recalls always feeling the hand of God over his life. His mother, Lennis Washington, would repeatedly remind him of the fact that people were praying for him even if he was unaware. Around 20 years old, he would experience another moment that changed his life. As a student at Fordham University, he was not doing too well in school, and an elderly woman by the name of Ruth Green prophesied over his life.”You’re going to speak to millions of people,” Green excitedly wrote on a piece of paper. “You’re going to do great things!” Initially full of disbelief, he would begin his acting journey sooner than he thought.

Denzel Washington has carried this testimony with him throughout his life. Even at a more mature age, Washington would still get advice from his mother. A few years ago when he was getting ready to turn 60, Washington’s mother encouraged him to continue to do good, but in “the right way.” This persuaded him to alter his life even more and the actor says he became much more “unashamed and unafraid” of sharing the message.

Sadly, Washington lost his mother recently. The almost 67-year-old actor not long ago spoke at “The Better Man Event” where he revealed both his promise to his mother and God that he would live out the rest of his days in service, helping, and providing.

It is in these moments where Denzel Washington’s character thoroughly shines, even though his screen work has been nothing less than an inspiration. That’s why actors such as Will Smith states that he has relied on the actor plenty of times in the past for sound advice.Calling him a “real sage”, Smith shared some of the best advice he’s gotten from the actor. While in his 40s, the Independence Day actor’s life hit a few tumultuous points which pushed him to call his longtime friend, Denzel Washington. According to Smith, Washington shared that everybody in their 40s experiences a rough time, what he describes as the “funky 40s.”

But the light at the end of the tunnel, which brought him closer to feeling a lot freer, was when he hit his 50s, which Washington describes as the “f— it 50s”. “[Denzel Washington] said, ‘Just bear with your 40s,'” Will Smith said in an interview with GQ. “I stopped and I was like, ‘The funky 40s and the f— it 50s.’ And that’s exactly what happened. It just became the f—it 50s, and I gave myself the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do.” 

About John Davidson

John Davidson is a California native who enjoys hip hop music, skiing and traveling international. Davidson graduated from USC majoring in Journalism.

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