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Aging Gracefully: Maya Angelou Embraces Maturity

On an episode of “Super Soul Sunday,” Oprah sat down with the woman she calls her mentor, Dr. Maya Angelou, to talk about the legendary poet’s life and career – including how she’s handled the aging process.

“As you’re 85, what can you say about the 80s?” Oprah asks in the video. “Are they still hot?”

“Oh my goodness,” Dr. Angelou says. “Do it if you can. If you have a choice, choose the 80s.”

Dr. Angelou echoes the philosophy of Oscar Wilde when she says, “moderation in all things, and even moderation in moderation. Don’t get too much moderation.” As Oprah laughs, Dr. Angelou continues, “But when you get in to your 80s, and you find that you’re still looking kinda alright, and people still say, ‘Hello, hello, hello,’ you think, ‘Hmm, I’m glad I got this far.'”

With many women trying to fight against the aging process, Oprah asks Dr. Angelou how she’s managed to embrace it. “I can’t remember ever being anxious about [aging],” Dr. Angelou says. “Every age, I’ve been grateful.”

Each morning, Dr. Angelou says she takes a moment to feel grateful. “Thank you, Lord,” she says. “Thank you for this day. Thank you for the light coming through that window. Thank you. Thank you that I’m breathing. Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the phone call that told me that I have the job. Thank you even for the phone call that told me I’m not wanted anymore. Thank you because I know you have something better for me lined up.”

In the video, Oprah brings up a phone call she had with Dr. Angelou years ago. “I was crying hysterically about something, I don’t recall what it was,” Oprah says. “I was calling for your open, empathetic, loving embrace. And you said, ‘Stop it. Stop it right now. I want you to say thank you.'”

At first, Oprah says she didn’t understand what Dr. Angelou wanted her to be thankful for. “And you said, ‘Because you know God has put a rainbow in the clouds for you,'” Oprah says. “That was life changing for me.”


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