How to Live a Passionate Life

We can’t stop aging, but we can embrace the process.  Isabel Allende, a 71 year old Chilean novelist and storyteller  tells us to live our lives passionately: “How can I stay passionate? I cannot will myself to be passionate at 71. I have been training for some time, and when I feel flat and bored, I fake it.  How do I train? I train by saying yes to whatever comes my way: drama, comedy, tragedy, love, death, losses. Yes to life.  You know what it takes? – an attitude – an attitude of conquering the world, of being passionate about things.”

Isabel tells us not to think of what we have lost over the decades but to think of what we have gained.  “Freedom – I don’t have to prove anything anymore. I’m not stuck in the idea of who I was, who I want to be or what other people expect me to be.  I feel lighter. I don’t carry grudges.  And I’ve gained spirituality. I’m aware that before, death was in the neighborhood. Now it’s next-door or in my house.”

Isabel Allende

Tips on Living Passionately

Isabel tells us that she tries to appear as a very healthy and strong person because it helps her believe that she is!   She abhors the whiner who’s all the time in pain, who seems to thrive on being perceived as frail.  She’d rather project being “strong as a bull” and tough.  Why?  Because it energizes her and feeds her passion for life.

Start training today to say “Yes to life”.


  1.  Don’t be a whiner.  Limit your complaints about your health and aches and pains to your doctor’s office.
  2. Exercise daily.  Your strength and vitality will fade and continue to fade if you don’t.
  3. Clean out your closet and update your wardrobe.    You’ll feel confident and energized.  As Iris Apfel says “When the fun goes out of getting dressed, you might as well be dead.  Wear something that says ‘Here I am’ today.”  And don’t shy away from vibrant shades, hats, jewelry or scarves.

    Iris Apfel

  4. Socialize and be interested in others and join in even when you don’t want to be bothered.  You never know if you’ll get a good laugh or make a new friend.  Be present in your life.
  5. Ask for help when you need it!  Do not succumb to passivity.  Be your own best advocate.

Retirement in Spanish is “jubilacion” – jubilation, celebration. We have paid our dues. We have contributed to society. Now, it’s our time, and it’s a great time.  Isabel has  chosen to stay passionate, engaged with an open heart. She’s working on it every day. Why don’t we join her?



For more posts by Virginia Tortorici, click here.

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