0:17(Applause) My husband is 76. My parents are intheir late 90s, and Olivia, the dog, is 16. So let's talk about aging.
0:31Let me tell you how I feel when I see my wrinklesin the mirror and I realize that some parts of me have dropped and I can't findthem down there. (Laughter)
0:41Mary Oliver says in one of her poems, "Tellme, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"Me, I intend to live passionately.
0:56When do we start aging? Society decides when weare old, usually around 65, when we get Medicare, but we really start aging atbirth. We are aging right now, and we all experience it differently. We allfeel younger than our real age, because the spirit never ages. I am still 17.Sophia Loren. Look at her. She says that everything you see she owes tospaghetti. I tried it and gained 10 pounds in the wrong places. But attitude,aging is also attitude and health. But my real mentor in this journey of agingis Olga Murray. This California girl at 60 started working in Nepal to save young girls from domestic bondage. At 88, she has saved 12,000 girls, and shehas changed the culture in the country. (Applause) Now it is illegal for fathersto sell their daughters into servitude. She has also founded orphanages andnutritional clinics. She is always happy and eternally young.
2:18What have I lost in the last decades? People, ofcourse, places, and the boundless energy of my youth, and I'm beginning to loseindependence, and that scares me. Ram Dass says that dependency hurts, but ifyou accept it, there is less suffering. After a very bad stroke, his agelesssoul watches the changes in the body with tenderness, and he is grateful to thepeople who help him.
2:52What have I gained? Freedom: I don't have to proveanything anymore. I'm not stuck in the idea of who I was, who I want to be, orwhat other people expect me to be. I don't have to please men anymore, onlyanimals. I keep telling my superego to back off and let me enjoy what I stillhave. My body may be falling apart, but my brain is not, yet. I love my brain.I feel lighter. I don't carry grudges, ambition, vanity, none of the deadlysins that are not even worth the trouble. It's great to let go. I should havestarted sooner. And I also feel softer because I'm not scared of beingvulnerable. I don't see it as weakness anymore. And I've gained spirituality.I'm aware that before, death was in the neighborhood. Now, it's next door, or inmy house. I try to live mindfully and be present in the moment. By the way, theDalai Lama is someone who has aged beautifully, but who wants to be vegetarianand celibate? (Laughter)
4:26(Video) Child: Ommm. Ommm. Ommm.
4:30Isabel Allende: Ommm. Ommm. There it is. And it'sgood to start early.
4:34You know, for a vain female like myself, it's veryhard to age in this culture. Inside, I feel good, I feel charming, seductive,sexy. Nobody else sees that. (Laughter) I'm invisible. I want to be the centerof attention. I hate to be invisible. (Laughter) (Applause)
4:57This is Grace Dammann. She has been in awheelchair for six years after a terrible car accident. She says that there isnothing more sensual than a hot shower, that every drop of water is a blessingto the senses. She doesn't see herself as disabled. In her mind, she's stillsurfing in the ocean. Ethel Seiderman, a feisty, beloved activist in the placewhere I live in California. She wears red patent shoes, and her mantra is thatone scarf is nice but two is better. She has been a widow for nine years, butshe's not looking for another mate. She says that there is only a limitednumber of ways you can screw — well, she says it in another way — and she hastried them all. (Laughter) I, on the other hand, I still have erotic fantasieswith Antonio Banderas — (Laughter) — and my poor husband has to put up with it.
6:04So how can I stay passionate? I cannot will myselfto be passionate at 71. I have been training for some time, and when I feelflat and bored, I fake it. Attitude, attitude. How do I train? I train bysaying yes to whatever comes my way: drama, comedy, tragedy, love, death,losses. Yes to life. And I train by trying to stay in love. It doesn't alwayswork, but you cannot blame me for trying.
6:39And, on a final note, retirement in Spanish isjubilación. Jubilation. Celebration. We have paid our dues. We have contributedto society. Now it's our time, and it's a great time. Unless you are ill orvery poor, you have choices. I have chosen to stay passionate, engaged with anopen heart. I am working on it every day. Want to join me?
7:18June Cohen: So Isabel — IA: Thank you.
7:22JC: First of all, I never like to presume to speakfor the TED community, but I would like to tell you that I have a feeling wecan all agree that you are still charming, seductive and sexy. Yes?
7:34IA: Aww, thank you. (Applause)
7:36JC: Hands down. IA: No, it's makeup.
7:39Moderator: Now, would it be awkward if I asked youa follow-up question about your erotic fantasies?
7:43IA: Oh, of course. About what?
7:45Moderator: About your erotic fantasies. IA: WithAntonio Banderas.
7:48Moderator: I was just wondering if you haveanything more to share.
7:51IA: Well, one of them is that — (Laughter) One ofthem is that I place a naked Antonio Banderas on a Mexican tortilla, I slatherhim with guacamole and salsa, I roll him up, and I eat him. (Laughter)