Oprah Winfrey talks retirement and reveals what she would tell her 25-year-old self

Claudine Varela
Feb 07, 2019
10:28 A.M.

Oprah Winfrey opens up about turning 65 and imparts wisdom her 25-year-old self would have appreciated.


Oprah Winfrey turned 65 on January 29 but she’s far from being a retiree. The talk show host shared this sentiment when she opened up to ET on board her Girls’ Getaway Cruise celebrating her birthday.


“It’s a milestone,” the media mogul agreed but she also tells ET’s Nischelle Turner and her BFF Gayle King that she’s not one who believes in retirement. She recounts a story of how averse to retirement she is.

"I don't believe in it and the other day somebody said, 'Oh, I see you're now here and 'cause you're retired.' And I go, 'No.' I was in the bookstore, I was buying a book and the woman said, 'Oh so you're doing a lot of reading on your retirement' ... and I started to turn around and give a whole lecture. 'I'm not retired.' But I thought, 'OK, just take it.' I said, 'Thank you, don't need a bag.'"


For Oprah, birthdays and aging are a gift that many are not fortunate to have. She cites Princess Diana as an example. She died in a car crash in 1997 and was only 36 years old.

"I always think about the people who didn't make it. I think about the people, I think about the number, and I've been thinking about it since my 40s. Like, I remember when Princess Diana died and I thought, 'Oh my god, she's never gonna make it to 50.'"

“So for every single birthday that I get to experience, I think it's a gift and a blessing. I think about the people who didn't make it."


With age comes wisdom and Oprah recognizes that fact. Now that she’s older and wiser, there’s one advice she would give her 25-year-old self – to learn to say no.

"When I was 25 I thought I had to say yes to everything anybody asked me to. I thought, 'Well, they asked.' And even Gayle says even now to me, 'But they said it would mean a lot to them.' I go, 'But it doesn't mean a lot to me.' So, the wonderful thing about being 65 is you do exactly what you want to do."


And as if those words aren’t pearls enough, she ends with this line that proves to us why Oprah is wise in her age.

"If you can't do that, if you can't claim doing exactly what you want to do, then you haven't earned the right to be here.”

Age is definitely just a number for Oprah who had a blast handing out tequila shots during her birthday cruise. The OWN founder delighted her guests with the drink in a swinging all-girls pajama party on board the Holland America Line. She even shared a clip to prove how fun it was.

Oprah sure knows how to party and celebrate her years.

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