- By Sue Campbell
Early in a new TED Talk on aging, famed novelist Isabel Allende quotes the poet Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
For her part, Allende, 71 at the time of her talk, plans to live passionately — and tells how she trains herself to remain open to life.
Allende published her first book, The House of the Spirits, in 1982, and has since written 10 novels, four memoirs and three books for young adult readers. Her writing draws on her life experience, including her exile from Chile in 1973 and the loss of her daughter in 1992.
Such challenges and sadness are as much a part of a passionate life as joy, Allende says. And aging — having paid one’s dues — can increase joy. She notes that the word for “retirement” in Spanish is “jubilación,” jubilation.
Another part of a passionate life, Allende maintains, is being present and staying sensual. The former journalist and political activist confesses, in her eight-minute speech, to having a particular soft spot for movie star Antonio Banderas. You’ll have to watch to see where thoughts of him and a tortilla take her.