Photo © Art Streiber
Exploring the world and new opportunities — whether a new place, a new job, a new relationship or a new hobby — is one of the Life Reimagined practices for a better life. Don't let anyone tell you that you're too old or that you can't do something. Of course we go through hard times, with money, with health. None of us can negotiate with aging, and we all have problems. We learn from the mistakes we make in trying. Everyone goes through rough times, and everything can change in a minute.
My father taught me that no matter where you are in your life's journey, enjoy the moment! Having a positive attitude helps you make the most of whatever you're doing, wherever you are.
He stayed positive when we left Cuba to escape the Communist regime. I was 14 and I cried on the plane all the way to Spain. I had left my mother behind and didn't know when — or whether — I'd see her again. He told me not to worry. We often only ate free food at a church and I played an accordion in a restaurant for tips, but we always looked forward to making our life better. More than a year later we left Spain for the United States. My mother joined us and we made Miami our home.
Even though that long, involved trip changed my life forever, some things remained the same. I knew that music made me happy, so I played the accordion and wrote songs no matter what else I was doing. And life took a new direction when Gloria, who loves music as much as I do, joined my band.
On our honeymoon we went to Japan. Since we didn't have much money we skipped having a big reception and traveled instead. We thought we might never have the chance again. We wanted to explore, to see all the things that make Japanese culture different from ours.
Since then, we've toured the world with our music. (And we've been back to Japan 10 times!) We've shared our Latin sound in countries from China to England to Argentina. We found that goodwill and good music connect lands and cultures and a smile crosses any language barrier.
Each person's trip across the decades is a unique experience. I enjoy my 60s because, while I still have energy and purpose, I have balance in life. I've learned a lot of things that come only through age; you can't buy that understanding with money. I love my family; I love my grandchild. I'm working on new projects: producing new albums, a TV series on Fox, a feature film and a documentary. In addition, Gloria and I are creating a Broadway show about the journey that brought us to where we are today.
My goals are simple: I wake up every morning wanting to keep learning, to accomplish something new and to help make other people happy.
Emilio Estefan is a music mogul, a restaurateur, a father, a husband and a philanthropist. As Life Reimagined ambassador for AARP, Emilio will share his expertise on a variety of subjects, including his passion for living, mentoring, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and much more.