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Meg Ryan, PORTER

Pamela Hanson for PORTER

Meg Ryan has learned a lot in her 54 years.

One of the biggest lessons, as the actress-turned-director reveals in PORTER's Winter Escape Issue 12 (on newsstands Friday), is that "there are more important conversations than how women look and how they are aging." In fact, the star confesses, "I love my age. I love my life right now. I love what I know about. I love the person I've become, the one I've evolved into."

"In my life I've been scrappy as hell, but I feel easy with things now," the You've Got Mail star continues. "I think that comes with age. We get stuck in these conversations about looks and hair color and our roots. It's interesting and funny for five minutes, but it's not that interesting."

Ryan is no stranger to scrutiny, of course, but she has learned to focus on what really matters. "There's a lot of hatred in the world today—it's so easy to judge. Imagine being a hater. How stupid!" the Ithaca director says. "My women friends are not sitting around talking about...well, sometimes there are conversations like that, but the people I value talk about kids growing up, what kind of world they are going into, what we are eating, what we are breathing."

Meg Ryan, PORTER

Pamela Hanson for PORTER

After several decades in Hollywood, Ryan explains that she now views fame as a "condition" rather than an "affliction." Today, the famously private actress says that fame is "definitely something I have had an evolving relationship to. I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to be separated out...Fame is so cheap. Actually it's not cheap, it's privacy that is expensive."

"Instagram and all that stuff is a lot of fun, but everybody has an audience now and that's new. I think people can now relate to the idea of strangers knowing about them: sometimes that's fine and sometimes you are misunderstood," Ryan adds. "Sometimes there's misinformation."

Emma Watson, PORTER

PORTER

Ryan also reveals that she has gone "on a little break" after her split with John Mellencamp . Still, they remain friends, and she even hired him to write music for Ithaca. "He's the perfect kind of songwriter for this story. He's world class," she says of her ex. "There's not one speck of music that's not his. He's got some kind of magic touch." At age 54, Ryan says she is happier than ever before. "I'm with my life right now in a way that I adore, with my kids and my world."

The actress once referred to her ex-husband Dennis Quaid as being the "unexpected" man in her life, but it's true of all her loves. "Don't you think every one of them has been unexpected?" she asks. Regarding what's next, she laughs and says, "I tell you what, it will be unexpected whatever it is!"