Gloria Steinem On The Age At Which We Transcend The 'Feminine Prison'

It's a decade in which you can "be your own self," she says.

For decades, Gloria Steinem has been an iconic figure in the feminist movement and fight for equal rights, causes she has championed ever since beginning her journalism career. In her late 20s, Steinem gained national attention by writing an expose about her experience going undercover as a Playboy bunny; by her 30s, she had co-founded Ms. Magazine and the National Women's Political Caucus; in her 40s, Steinem published her first of many books. Each decade has brought with it new experiences, perspectives and opportunities that have shaped Steinem into the woman she is today.

Now, at 81, Steinem is opening up about her journey through those decades, telling Oprah on "SuperSoul Sunday" that she can never be reminded too often of her current age.

"I'm so grateful you just said I'm 81, because I'm trying to convince myself," Steinem says to Oprah. "I tell people on the street that I'm 81, because I don't believe it."

Steinem continues to work tirelessly, but even in the midst of her ongoing activism, she admits that aging can still have an effect on the psyche. "Fifty, for me, was hard," she says. "Because it was the end of the central years of life -- the gendered years of life, in a way, from 13 to 50."

The decade that followed, though, felt quite liberating.

"Sixty was great," Steinem says. "It was beyond the kind of 'feminine prison'... You could be your own self. Seventy was somewhat like that, too."

Now, Steinem points to a different focus as the result of being in her 80s.

"Eighty is about mortality," she states. "I have to understand that even though I'm going to live to 100 (in my opinion), that's only 19 years.

"There's just so much I want to do," Steinem continues. "And, also, I love it here. What makes it hard to imagine leaving is not the hard parts; it's the parts you love."

What she has loved most about life, she adds, is the sense of connectivity that happens in some of the most unassuming moments.

"For no reason, you suddenly feel at one with everything. You feel boundary-less. And, also, if I just meet somebody in the supermarket or on the street and they tell me how a social justice [effort] -- the women's movement, something -- has changed their lives. You get a sense of a story that's a different story," Steinem says. "That's infinitely, infinitely rewarding."

"SuperSoul Sunday" airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on OWN.

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