Michael J. Fox Says He's Planning 'a Second Retirement': 'If This Is the End of My Acting Career, So Be It'

"There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me," the Back to the Future star writes in his new book, No Time Like the Future

Michael J Fox
Michael J. Fox. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Michael J. Fox is ready for the sun to set on his acting career.

In the 59-year-old actor's new book, No Time Like the Future, Fox shares that he's entering a "second retirement" and is ready for his acting career to end.

Writing that his "work as an actor does not define me," Fox says that his recent health struggles are only one factor in his decision to stop acting.

"The nascent diminishment in my ability to download words and repeat them verbatim is just the latest ripple in the pond," Fox writes. "There are reasons for my lapses in memorization — be they age, cognitive issues with the disease, distraction from the constant sensations of Parkinson's, or lack of sensation because of the spine — but I read it as a message, an indicator."

"There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me," the Back to the Future star continues in the book. "At least for now."

"In fairness to myself and to producers, directors, editors, and poor beleaguered script supervisors, not to mention actors who enjoy a little pace, I enter a second retirement," Fox writes. "That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it."

Earlier this month, the Family Ties star opened up to PEOPLE about his decades-long battle with Parkinson's Disease, which he was diagnosed with at age 29 in 1991. In 2018, Fox underwent surgery for a noncancerous tumor on his spine and had to learn to walk again.

"My short-term memory is shot," he told PEOPLE. "I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization. And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them."

The Golden Globe winner added that writing is now his primary creative outlet.

RELATED VIDEO: Michael J. Fox Reveals the Painful Setback That Led to His ‘Darkest Moment’ Since Parkinson’s Diagnosis

"I’m down to this," he said. "My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it."

The actor — who shares son Sam, 31, twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, both 25, and daughter Esmé, 19, with wife Tracy Pollan — added that optimism has helped him get through difficult times and health problems.

"Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance," he told PEOPLE.

"Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place. Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on."

"So the last couple couple of years have been trickier than most," Fox said, "but I have things that I've been blessed with that are just incredible. Life is rich. Life is good."

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