Her daughter likes to say to people, “Look at my mother: at 82 years old, flying to Tibet!” Dr. Erica Miller laughs, “If I were a monkey on a leash, she’d be collecting money.”
But her daughter might have a hard time keeping up. In the past year, Dr. Miller (whose Twitter handle is @BubbeMiller) has given dozens of motivational speeches all over the country and published her second book, not to mention the trip to Tibet. It is no surprise that her book is called “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Do It!”
Because she can.
As a little girl, Miller, along with her family, survived four years in a Nazi holding camp in the Ukraine. After they were liberated, the family fled to Israel. When she was old enough, Miller served in the Israeli Air Force. Thanks for My Journey: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story of Living Fearlessly is her memoir.
Years later, as a wife and mother in California, she earned a PhD in clinical psychology and founded a chain of mental health clinics. Apparently restless with too much time on her hands when her kids grew up, Miller assumed the role of CEO of the family real estate company, wrote a book aptly titled Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Do It: Living Audaciously In the Here and Now, and began her career as motivational speaker, encouraging her audiences to live life “audaciously in the here and now.”
Even a few minutes with Dr. Miller is a bodacious romp. Her joi de vivre is infectious and motivating, which is exactly what she wants. “I know I’m a crazy person,” she says, “but we all should be crazy. Have fun. Don’t be stupid, but go have some fun.”
Dr. Erica Miller doesn’t want to hear about this getting old thing. “Really,” she says, “there’s no answer to how old is old. It all depends on who you ask.”
Vitality, spirituality, and sexuality combine to make a powerful lifestyle. Miller is a champion of all three. When her husband of 53 years passed away two years ago, she listened to her own voice. “He was funny, quirky, and smart,” she says. “I know there is an energy that survives life. Nothing is lost in this universe.” She continues to celebrate life.
“I like to talk to younger audiences. I tell them to live life like you’re going to live forever. I tell them how important it is to be positive and active. Get past disappointments. Disappointments make the joy of accomplishment that much better. Life’s a mystery and you’re the lead character.”
Dr. Miller’s advice and encouragement may resonate even more strongly to older audiences. We often need to hear that our attitude and lifestyle are more important than our age when it comes to aging gracefully—or audaciously, as Dr. Miller prefers. If you’d like to hear from the good doctor herself, a podcast is available here.
By Sherri Daley