updated 11/10/2013 AT 9:25 AM ET
•originally published 11/10/2013 AT 3:25 PM ET
Just months before his 50th birthday, Killing Kennedy star Rob Lowe is experiencing a career renaissance – but he is most excited about his life as a family man.
“My work life is so chaotic and we live in Santa Barbara so it is a very long drive but I’m home every night and I wake up in a beautiful area with my family,” Lowe tells PEOPLE. “Sometimes on days off I don’t even leave the property.”
And although the past few months has been a busy time for the Parks and Recreation star, he is taking extra care to savor his last few months with his youngest son, John Owen, 18, before he goes off to college, following in the footsteps of his brother Matthew, 20, who is in his second year at Duke University.
“They are both so academically advanced,” says the proud papa. “They have also been a handful at times but I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, if they had not been I would have worried where my DNA was!”
If the smarts did not come from the former Brat Pack member, it was perhaps passed down by the boys’ mother, Sheryl, 52.
“I’m rediscovering my relationship with Sheryl,” Lowe says of his jewelry designer wife of 22 years. “She’s great and as wonderful as ever. Emotionally, I am in love like a teenager.”
And outside of his family life, Lowe couldn’t sound busier: The actor is “in denial” about his recent decision to move on from Parks and Recreation. He is developing a new sitcom for NBC, working on the upcoming film Sex Tape with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, and stars as the title character in the National Geographic Chanel movie Killing Kennedy airing Sunday.
“I feel more creatively fulfilled than I’ve ever felt,” says Lowe, whose costar Ginnifer Goodwin will be doing a live Twitter chat with PEOPLE readers Sunday. “JFK is a role I’ve always dreamt of playing. I’m really happy, gratified, grateful for this particular moment in my life.”
And turning 50 in March is having no negative impact on the youthful-spirited star.
“The candles on the cake mean absolutely nothing,” says Lowe. “It truly is about how you lead your life and not how much life is led.”
Read more about Rob Lowe loving life at 49 in this weeks issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now