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Andrew McCarthy talks fatherhood, his new memoir and more

Actor Andrew McCarthy's new memoir, "The Long Way

Actor Andrew McCarthy's new memoir, "The Long Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down" (Free Press, $26), which was released last week. Credit: Handout

Actor Andrew McCarthy is best known for starring in iconic movies such as “Mannequin," "Pretty in Pink," "St. Elmo's Fire” and “Weekend at Bernie's,” and now he can add author to his list of accomplishments.

The former “Brat Pack” star and father to son, Sam, and daughter, Willow, wrote his first book, “The Long Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down” (Free Press, $26), which was recently released.

Along with acting and directing, in a parallel career, McCarthy is an award-winning travel writer and an editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler. His new memoir follows his trips to Patagonia, the Amazon and Mount Kilimanjaro where he writes “through my travel, I began to grow up.” His excursions helped him work through his commitment phobia and finally settle down with his wife, Dolores Rice.

I was able to catch up with McCarthy to talk about his new book, fatherhood and balancing it all.

Q. Your new book embraces the fact that you were able to work through your commitment phobia and finally settle down. What advice do you have for young kids about commitment, especially with celebs like Miley Cyrus getting married so young?
Go slow. There are a lot of wonderful things out there. When you're young, you want to be older and feel older. It's only when you get older that you realize that being your age is a gift.

Q. Did being a father play a role in your decision to settle down? Did it better prepare you to tie the knot?
The notion of parenting forces us to live up to the idea of our better selves. What my kids have done for me is they've asked that I be the best version that I can be. It's one of the gifts our kids give us for sure. For example, I'm not a great flyer, and when I fly alone I'm jumping off the seats. But when my kids are with me, I'm calm on a plane, for them.

Q. You have a son from a previous marriage and a daughter with Dolores. Any advice for blended families?
Technically, we try not to have any division. Families these days come in all different shapes and sizes and conversions. It's all about the love, isn't it? And not having labels. We just try to have everything go as smoothly and organically as possible. My ex-wife spends Christmas with us so it's all very modern.

Q. What have your kids taught you about life?
All the obvious things -- paying attention, being present. Kids just crack you wide open. They make you feel that wonderful, vulnerable feeling of vicarious love.

Q. What have you learned since becoming a father?
That I'm not as patient as I thought I was.

Q. How do you balance work and being a dad?
I have an extraordinary wife! Other than that, balance is impossible. It's a constant juggle, trying to spin all those plates on top of the stick.

Q. What is your favorite way to spend down time with your family?
We recently got into bike riding since my daughter is learning how to ride a bike. We sit down for a meal and do a lot of story telling, as well.

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