Right now you haven’t got a clue where I’m going with this, do you? Patience my friends, all will become clear.
But first, let me start by saying that Isabel Allende is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read all but one (her latest and it’s on my list) of her books, many of them multiple times. She takes you on magical voyages, not all of which are fiction.
Knowing this, last weekend a friend sent me a link to a Ted Talk she gave in March 2014: “How to live passionately — no matter your age.” OMG! You owe it to yourself to watch it here.
Of course, given my recent post on meditating, avoiding negativity and embracing happiness the timing was absolutely impeccable. Allende’s philosophy, which I happen to share, is the perfect follow up.
What really resonated with me was the beginning of her Talk, where she quoted a line from a Mary Oliver poem: “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” A question not to be answered lightly.
I especially loved what she (Isabel Allende) said about aging, about how “society decides when we are old” and how “we all feel younger than our age because the spirit never ages.” It was at exactly that point in her presentation when I felt my mother’s presence.
I just felt her beside me. Because if ever there was anyone whose spirit was forever young it was my mother. It’s one of the things about her I loved and admired most. In spirit years she was probably 25 or 30, maybe even younger. And you know something, it showed.
It showed in the light shining out of her eyes, it showed in her red lipstick, the bright colours she favoured and in her stylish coiffure.
It showed in her sense of humour, in her raucous laugh, in the way she would flirt with handsome young men.
It showed in her open mind and liberal views.
It showed when, even in her 80s, she had the desire and the energy to volunteer at a hospital from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. twice a week.
It showed in her love of life and all it offered, including the difficult bits.
It showed in how she never lost her independence (something else Allende talked about) — even when her health was really failing and she needed help — because she owned it. She acknowledged it, accepted it and refused to let her pride get in the way. She took control and that’s how she retained her independence until the very end.
She was, is and always will be my role model and my inspiration.
As for what Isabel Allende had to say about Antonio Banderas I’m not onboard with all of it. While I can totally get into the guacamole and the salsa, I’m not so sure the tortillas are really necessary.
Thanks for sharing the TED talk, I enjoyed it. Spending as much time as I do at a nursing home, it is easy to see the difference in how one ages. There are people who are profoundly ill or disabled who still are kind and have a sense of humor and there are others, with fewer troubles who are sour and miserable. It’s a lesson I’m trying to take to heart. As Ms. Allende said, she practices every day.
Glad you enjoyed it. Everyone does age differently and not always well. The older I get and the more I see and experience the more I realize it. One thing is sure. If you’re going to survive in life a sense of humour is essential!
Franco, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I share your enthusiasm for Isabel Allende, but have yet to read The Japanese Lover yet. My mother answered, when I asked her when she first noticed the signs of aging, “what signs of aging?” With an attitude like that she always was young.
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. That’s what it’s all about — attitude! Good for her :).
Apologies for the typo on your name, Fransi!
No worries Ronnie 🙂
Good closing line by Isabel Allende in Ted Talk and of course, by you in this post. Like it.
Thanks Joe 🙂