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Living versus Aging | LAYC75
Episode 7519th July 2023 • Seasoned Women Serious Business • Isabel Alexander
00:00:00 00:23:06

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Today, at popular request, I'm answering a question that's being asked of me a lot these days.

“Why would you want to do that now, Isabel, at your age?”

I could be flip and just say, because I can, or I could be pretty honest and say, “Because I have a tee shirt that says, ‘Because I said I would!” but the truth is it's because I have recognized the absolute power, the healing, regenerative, exciting benefits of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and deciding to do some things that I haven't done before.

I've talked a little bit about that in previous episodes, but specifically today, I wanted to talk about this whole thing about why would you do that at this age?

I've become a follower of Julia Louis Dreyfus, her new podcast show called “Wiser Than Me” and the episode that I tuned into was with Diane von Furstenberg.

(Note inserted: In the early 1970's, Diane von Furstenburg produced twenty thousand cotton jersey wrap dresses that sold immediately. While she didn't necessarily invent the wrap dress, she certainly perfected it. Her version was a collared, long sleeve shirt dress that wrapped around the waist and accentuated the bodice.)

She said: Instead of asking someone how old they are, we should say, how long have you lived?

I loved that perspective, that really flipping it on its head, thinking about, I'm not, I've been saying that I'm 68 years young right now on the eve of 69 in not very many more days and how excited I am about that and all of this has brought flooding back to me a lot of the things in my lifetime that contribute to me feeling so this young, this vibrant and excited about the future ahead of me.

That brought me back to thinking about a time in my life when I was part of an executive coaching program called ‘The Strategic Coach, with Dan Sullivan.

And one of the many things that I thank him for, and the lessons that I learned as as a client of that venerable institution, was his exercise called “The Lifetime Extender”.

And that was about 20 years ago that I went through that exercise, and at the time I remember the discomfort I felt at that age being asked, what is the number? What's my number when I expected I will die?

So I wrote on my worksheet the number 88. Not because I thought through or that I was predicting the end of my physical existence on this planet, but I, my grandmother, I think was around that age at the time, and I was also thinking, eight is one of my favorite numbers and I like, I like multiple numbers, so for the sake of the exercise, I put down 88.

Then we were required to make a list of the things that we would do, if we had more time and no limitations, no restriction. What are the things that we hadn't yet gotten around to in our life that we wish we could do, but we're really prepared to, committed to it or didn't think we had the resources or we didn't think we'd have the time, but without any of those limitations we spent quite a bit of time writing down all the sorts of things that we would do if time and resources were not an object.

Then the process was that we had to stop and calculate, tabulate about how much time would it take to accomplish those things that we put on the I wish I could, if I had the opportunity list.

And lo and behold, my list back then, this was 20 years ago, added up to 40 years, which would mean I would have then had to live, change my life expectancy to 128 years living to accomplish all those things. I gotta tell ya, it was spectacular how that changed my perspective on what is possible, what is important to me, and how it, that was the beginning.

I can tell you, that was the real beginning for me of thinking about not expiring, not coming to an end, downhill when I got into my 60s.

On the other hand, it made me think bigger, more expansively, and I started to imagine, maybe I could, maybe I should.

And what if I did it?

How would that change my legacy?

How would I adjust my expectations of who I am?

How I want to show up in the world? What my future self is? Who I want to become if I thought of doing all of those things?

And that's probably about the time that I started to think about Lift As You Climb, that knowing in opening myself up, and raising my sights to what is possible in my lifetime, if I just go for it, how that I could positively impact others, people close to me and people I haven't even met yet.

Because. I just have no, I just don't know. I don't know what else I may do. I know that I am capable of a great deal, but I don't know yet what else that may be. But I'm open. I'm trying to remain open too. All of that and no money. And so that's part of what I'm doing as the encore explorer at my age, I'm an entrepreneur, seriously and serially, an entrepreneur.

And I love to continue to learn so that I can share more with people that I can help. And I continue to lift myself as I grow . . .

So this has been just a really awakening, opening time for me again, after some challenging years, where I really did, I did that search, that deep internal search, asking repeatedly, who am I now?

And I know I'm not alone in asking that question.

It used to scare me. It used to embarrass me and made me feel ashamed and a little guilty that at my age in my 50s, my 60s, I wasn't really sure who I was.

Wow, guess what? It's because I was changing. I was evolving, and so I'm continuing to catch up to who I am becoming because I decided to retire only from the things I no longer like to do so that I could make more room to do more of what I want to do, to say yes to more experience, yes to more living versus aging. And that's why I call it my Encore because I feel that Encore means more and Encore is a positive, a celebration of what is possible. And I'm looking for that too.

Just a fun thing. I have an app on my phone called Countdown and I'm using it these days, especially because I have a lot of travel and change coming up in my life. I had it set for countdown to when I was going to be houseless because you may know my part of my story right now is that I've put my furniture and most of my possessions in a storage unit, and I'm preparing to travel around the world.

Part time I'm house sitting, like I am today, and part time visiting with friends and family around the world, and part time just going off and having adventures and like I am in, let's just see, we're checking out here, I am off to Dubai in 30 days from the day I'm recording this and 53 days, I'm going to touch down in Bali, where I'm going to spend a month with my Rotary group, visiting the service projects that I am so proud to be involved in and part of with them.

The other thing I added today, because now, honestly I have to rethink my “Lifetime Extender” numbers. Because now I realize, Very unlikely that physically I would be finished at the age 88. Right now, I'm healthy. There are no signs, there no seem to be any reason to expect that I wouldn't live long and vibrantly after that age, and the other aspect of this is I continue to grow my list of the things I would like to do if I have extra time, and that's what I'm working on.

Sharing with you, I've now set my Countdown App to track my 100th birthday. And I love the fact that I can do this, because I can do it by the months, the weeks, the days, the hours, the minutes, even the seconds if I want to.

But for the purpose of this exercise today, I'm looking at 11,397 days from now, I'll be throwing myself a 100th birthday party and inviting all of you to celebrate with me.

And that sounds like a lot, and I know that time accelerates and it just goes by so very quickly. And to put that in perspective, if I change the app setting to months, my 100th birthday is only 374 months from today.

Now when you look that in comparison to 365 days and most years and 374 months to my 100th birthday, I just thought, “Okay, Giddy Up, Isabel, get busy living because there's just so much more that there you want to do!” and I'm going to, I'm going to do that.

If you're interested in it, I totally welcome you to join me on this incredible extended lifetime.

And remember that age is simply a state of mind. It's never an excuse to stop dreaming, to stop imagining, lifting, climbing, living, because you have a choice.

You have a choice.

I welcome you to join me along this journey, and happy birthdays, many of them, to you.

P. S. If you want some ideas, I also recorded a podcast about two years ago this time called:

It's called “Do Epic Shit!” It's along those ideas, but it might give you some other thoughts on how to create your epic list.

I no longer have a bucket list. I didn't like the connotation that conjured for me. A bucket is something you kick and I wasn't ready to kick the bucket by any means, so now I have an epic list and it gets longer and longer.

About the Host:


Isabel Alexander

Your Next Business Strategist and Transformation Catalyst


Dynamic, a self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic, and a conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander cultivated an award-winning, $10+ million global chemical business and grew it from dining room table to international boardrooms.

Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate and nurture strategic relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with the courage to follow her example of thriving against the odds.

With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries, Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor, and a role model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering others to economic independence.



Lift As You Climb Movement (


Chief Encore Officer, The Encore Catalyst ( – an accelerator for feminine wisdom, influence, and impact.


Author & Speaker ‘Who Am I Now? – Feminine Wisdom Unmasked Uncensored’ (



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