At fifty, with a taste for the finer things in life, I confess: I’d begun to envision a future paced slower than a snail on a leisurely stroll. The grand plan? Swap the mansion for a bungalow—goodbye, cruel stairs—and embrace the quiet life. Or so I thought, until fate intervened in the most extraordinary way, introducing me to three octogenarian goddesses who flipped my script, dabbed it with glitter, and sent it off with a kiss for good luck.

My Epiphany in Laos

Picture this: Laos, in all its humid, heart-thumping glory, and me, wilting faster than a haute couture gown in a downpour. Then she appeared, an 85-year-old New Yorker with the energy of a high-school cheerleader and the heart of a saint. She’s up there, in her top-floor haven, accessible only by a staircase that I swear was modeled on Everest. Her mission? Transforming lives of families with disabled children. This marvel commutes two hours each day on a public bus, unfazed by the heat that had me contemplating a permanent ice bath.

Her zeal for life, for making a difference despite the hurdles (literal and metaphorical), left me in awe.

“Slow down at fifty?” she seemed to chuckle without saying a word, “Darling, the show’s just starting.”

Luang Prabang city 2024 streets Laos Asia Gracie Opulanza (3)

The Porsche-Driving Powerhouse

Then came the second act of my wake-up call: a dame who not only drives a Porsche 911 but also handles it like she’s part of its engineering blueprint. Yes, a sleek, roaring beast piloted by an 85-year-old with more zest for life than a lemon grove. She’s not just about speed; her mind races faster than her car, absorbing knowledge like a sponge in a wine spill. Business? She’s in the thick of it, proving that age might just be the secret ingredient we’re all missing.

Porsche 911 GT3 - Celebrating 20 years

Culinary Magic in Holland

Finally, my whirlwind tour of inspiration led me to Holland, where an 85-year-old culinary magician whipped up a Michelin-star-worthy feast that would have the gods of Olympus booking the next flight out. Her love affair with fine wines and the arts added layers to her charm, convincing me that perhaps the best is not behind us but lies in wait, ready to be seized with a gusto that knows no age.


The Lesson Learnt

So, here I am, reevaluating everything. These three women, with their unquenchable passion for life, have gifted me a new lens through which to view the future.

The idea of slowing down now seems as ludicrous as wearing flip-flops to a gala.

Fitness? I’m on it, with visions of me giving the young ones a run for their money at the local park. Dreams? They’re getting a deluxe makeover, powered by the realization that if you’re not reaching for the stars, you’re just playing in the sand.

These women, with their boundless energy, fearless approach to life, and refusal to be defined by a number, have reshaped my vision of what’s possible. They don’t just live; they dazzle, leaving a trail of sparkle that beckons us to follow.

Bentley GTC Sage Green Gracie Opulanza 2023 (2)

So, to anyone wondering about the allure of reaching 85, I say this: it’s not just about adding years to your life; it’s about infusing those years with an electricity that defies expectation. It’s about climbing the stairs to your penthouse because you can, about driving a Porsche like it’s an extension of your being, and about creating magic in the kitchen that brings people together in celebration of life.

These ladies have shown me that the opulent lifestyle I cherish isn’t about the material but the experiences, the joy of living fully at any age. And with a chuckle and a dash of humor, I admit, the thought of downscaling now feels like opting for last season’s fashion—a ludicrous notion for someone who’s just gearing up for the prime of her life.

In essence, the journey to 85 is not a gentle descent but a fabulous ascent, bedecked with the promise of new adventures, laughter, and, yes, a touch of irreverence. Because if there’s one thing these incredible women have taught me, it’s that life doesn’t taper off; it blossoms, it surprises, and it delights, demanding nothing less than our most vibrant selves in return.

So, here’s to the ladies who lunch, who lead, and who love life with an intensity that inspires. Here’s to finding that at 85, the party’s not winding down—it’s just getting started. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what wonders await.