I’ve Been Thinking… about How We Have No Time to Waste
I’ve Been Thinking…
This past Wednesday, I sat in my hotel room in New York and watched President Biden deliver his one-year anniversary speech.
During his address, Biden spoke about what he felt he had done well during his first year in office (including passing the infrastructure bill, getting 63 percent of the country fully vaccinated, and reducing unemployment). He also spoke about what had surprised him (like Republicans not really wanting to help him at all) and where he felt he could do better (including communicating with the American people, getting out of D.C. more, and reducing inflation).
As I listened to him speak, I got to thinking about my own life in the last year. One year isn’t that long, but at my age, I can’t help but think about the fragility of time and how fleeting it can be.
I’ve lost several people close to me in the last year to death (including my friend Trevor Moawad, whose new book is featured in our Recommends section below). That always has a way of putting things in perspective. Losing people you love prompts you to really reflect on who matters and what matters most to you. Age is just a number, as the saying goes, but it’s also a reminder that we have no time to waste.
It’s funny: I never think of myself as old, but my older brother Bobby says that’s a mistake. He says that recognizing that you are old allows you to look at things from a different perspective. The other day when I told him to stop saying he was old, he said to me: “Maria, you should stop seeing yourself as a young girl. Instead, see yourself as a powerful, single 60-something woman, because that’s the truth.”
He went on to remind me that the opportunities available to me today are way better than they were when I was a young woman. “You have better mental tools and better practical tools than you did when you were 25,” he said. “You have experience and wisdom. At 25, you see time as endless, but at your age, you should view it as a finite resource and make decisions from that place. Put your dreams into action right now. Get busy living the narrative you want.”
What perfect timing, because today Sounds True and I are launching a summit that I’m so excited about called Radically Reframing Aging: Today’s Groundbreakers on Age, Health, Purpose & Joy (click here for details). Its intention is to get people of all ages excited about aging. What a concept!
We want to help them see the process from a perspective of hope, and after watching the summit, I believe we accomplished just that. I want to thank everyone who joined us in speaking at the summit, including bestselling author Dan Buettner, Rob Lowe, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dr. David Sinclair, Norma Kamali, Anne Lamott, Martha Beck, Dr. Wendy Suzuki, and more. Together, we produced a summit about purpose, health, joy, and how you can have all of those things no matter your age. One of the things I’ve learned about aging well is that it’s important to surround myself with people who make me laugh and who are joy-filled themselves. People who have dreams, who look forward, who have purpose in their lives. All of these individuals fill me up, give me things to think about, and get me excited about aging.
Continue reading my I’ve Been Thinking column below…
I talk to so many 30 year olds who tell me they feel old. I talk to so many 40 and 50 year olds who say they can’t see their way forward. I believe that this summit can and will change how you approach aging. It will transform how you feel about it and what you choose to do with your life, no matter how old you are right now.
Bobby told me that when he turned 50, a friend said to him, “You’re turning 50? Wow, that’s a terrible thing to do to an 18-year-old boy!” That made me laugh. Aging is indeed something that needs to be radically reframed in our society. The truth is that it’s already being radically reshaped by people every day, but that story isn’t out there in the zeitgeist.
Look at Warren Buffett running his company in his 90s. Look at Frank Gehry designing the most extraordinary buildings in his 90s. Look at William Shatner going into space in his 90s. Look at Norma Kamali getting married in her 70s. Look at the president of the United States, who achieved his lifelong dream in his 70s. The list goes on.
You may be 30 and think you are old, but you’re not. You may be 50 or 60 and think, “Oh no, I have no time left,” but that’s simply not true.
Today, I feel much freer than I did when I was younger. I know myself better. I like myself better. I’m braver. As Bobby said, I have tools that I didn’t have when I was 25. I have survived things I never believed possible. And while I may not look as young as I once did, I feel blessed to be the age I am. I am excited to be the age I am. I see possibilities in front of me. That’s my hope for anyone who signs up for the amazing Radically Reframing Aging summit. I want it to inspire attendees and help them feel hopeful about aging, because the truth is that none of us are guaranteed the time we have.
So think about where you want to be one year from now. Think about where you want our young country to be one year from now. Think about if you had to give a speech one year from now. What would you say you had done well? What would you say had surprised you? What would you say you could have done better?
You may be met with “Don’t wear that. Don’t do that. Don’t you know you’re too old for that?” So be prepared to hold your ground. Be strong enough to say, “This is the life I’m living, but thanks for your thoughts. I know what’s good for me.”
As for me, I hope there will be many surprises in my year ahead. I hope I’ll be able to pursue my dreams for myself and for my country. As always, there will be things I know I could have done better. That’s life. But for sure, I know that one year from now, I will be deeply grateful that I’m still here. That’s something I will never take for granted!