Cicely Tyson is the cover star for TIME’s second annual Optimists issue, which is guest-edited by prolific filmmaker Ava DuVernay. During her interview, the veteran actress revealed she has no plans to leave Hollywood.

According to Ebony, when asked about retirement, Tyson replied, “And do what? The reason why I have been in this universe as long as I have been is because he’s not ready for me.” The actress turned 94 in December.

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How does an #artist keep her ­creative vision alive? It’s a concern not just for painters and poets who have been at work for decades; an artist’s vision can be tested at any point in life. For the nine people photographed in the Artists at Every Age portfolio—­from 18-year-old poet @kinsalehues to 94-year-old actor #CicelyTyson—what keeps them at work is the possibility of connecting with others. Photographer Djeneba Aduayom wanted to capture the essence of each artist and their relationship to art. “It was about looking through the lens and seeing who they were,” Aduayom tells TIME. Cicely Tyson, the celebrated actor who appears on one of two covers for this week's Optimists issue, speaks to TIME about her storied career, optimism and how her #art has affected others. Read more at the link in bio. Photograph by @djenebaaduayom for TIME

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“When I’ve completed my job, he’ll take me away. I know several people who have retired and then six months later, they’re gone,” she added.

The honorary Oscar recipient told the publication your daily work routine is a form of exercise that keeps you alive. “My rationale says to me, for years you got up in the morning, you did whatever was required of you to get ready to leave, you ate breakfast, you got in your car or on your train or the bus and you went to work. You worked all day, then you went home, and you had dinner. This is exercise that you have done for years. What is it that makes you think that you can suddenly stop doing that, and sit down all day long and watch television?”

Tyson said she is honored to continue to share her gifts because it’s what keep her going.

“You can’t just stop, because that will be the end of you,” she said in conclusion.