At age 80 and beyond, how do you view the future? When I turned 80, I felt buoyant despite a flock of fresh aches. I had extra time! I contacted friends and relatives over 80 — I cheated on one; he’s 79 — and asked about new goals or projects, tips for their younger selves. How does 80 feel?


“I made it! … I made it!”

• “We don’t have any long-term goals any more. We talk about our goals for the day and we usually don’t get to realize them. We get started on a project and the phone rings and someone needs help, so we put off the project for another day or another month! We have lots of people that need us to help them out and that is good, we don’t have to worry about getting bored.”

• “I can’t remember.” (A dozen 80-year-old friends are having lunch, munching on the question, “Any new goals?” They chuckle at this answer.)

• “It is fun to have lots of interests: Russian avant-garde art from 1919-1924, Johan Vermeer paintings from the 17th century (I have seen 24 of his total 34 paintings), history of all kinds keep my days full, plus sports, and my children and grandchildren, plus floral design. Not enough days in a year to enjoy everything — especially my high school girlfriends. Where does the time go?”

• “I am grateful for wonderful memories and if I had to go back and tell myself at 40 what I should do differently, I would have no suggestions.”

• “If I met my 20-year-old self, I’d shake her shoulders and say, ‘Sweetie! Save for retirement! Set up automatic payments! They’ll mushroom! But start now!’”

• “Being somewhat interested in what herbs, oils and supplements can do for my body temple to maintain being limber and supple, I deeply appreciate using what deems right for me and truly share what has worked for me.”

• “Tai chi in the morning. It helps all day.”

• “Drink your water. Don’t dehydrate!”

• “The years go by so fast! Perhaps life, itself, prepares us for eternity, where there is no time. I just lost a dear sister-in-law. She joins her daughter and my daughter in heaven. How do they find each other? Is love a form of molecular energy? Are the bonds of love formed here on earth eternal? Is their molecular energy re-bonded magnetically? My friend says that God knows.”

• “We gave up having pets, so an opportunistic neighbor cat comes over for breakfast and dinner and we can pet her and talk to her, so that fills our pet needs. We also feed birds, and deer. They make sure all fallen apples are eaten promptly.”

• “I don’t have that much time left. I want to leave with good relationships. Other things don’t mean as much as just being kind.”

• “We both have living wills. We do not want to spend the last year or so of our lives being fed in a skilled nursing facility. Our living wills specify a time when we are no longer to be fed. Dying does not frighten us — we know where we are going. Living with severe dementia does.”

• “I say The Lord’s Prayer every night, plus the 23rd Psalm, before prayers for the World and others and this keeps me grounded and at Peace (pretty much). Jeremiah 33:3: ‘Call unto Me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.’ Ask, and then with patience, the answer arrives.”

• “Eighty isn’t the end. It’s a start. My briefcase is full. Away we go!”

• “Just read (a joke about getting old, to husband) in the car on our way to a wedding on the Eastern Shore … Had some good laughs identifying with our own aging experience.”

• “Truly I enjoy visits to the family home, seeing classmates who still meet once a month to sup and chit-chat about how things have changed since graduation (including new hips and/or knees).”

• “Having great friends like our High School girlfriend group to keep in touch with and gather for a long weekend once a year is always a highlight.”

• “We will all be celebrating our 80th birthday … aren’t we lucky! Remember to bring all your new helpful hints: beauty tips, food and kitchen tips, whatever tips, etc. Have you met your Goal for this year? Do you have a new one for next year? Yes, we have a great deal to talk about — so fun! Remember the first (weekend gathering) on our 60th birthday? Do you think we have changed? I don’t, although if we have it is definitely for the better — we definitely are smarter and have more wisdom, for sure.”

• “My move to a small town has given me a serene new life! The only bad news I see is on TV. With children grown and grandchildren well on the way, life is good.”

• “We are doing all right. Our oldest is here at our place which is a blessing for us. He is able to do the things we can’t …”

• “My granddaughters are amazed that at eighty I can still fix a nice meal for our very large extended family. Is it senility or vanity that makes me think about substitute teaching this year?”

• “80 year olds have a lot more fun than younger adults … SO blessed & thankful to have reached this # … looking forward to more #’s piling on, to more adventures & journeys together. Just last eve we saw the movie, Christopher Robin, and when we were buying the tickets the young woman couldn’t help but laugh out loud. We enjoyed ourselves & all the young families gathered around … great show!!!”

• “Floors are in the house, tile is being laid so we’re still on schedule to close mid November.” (She and her husband are building a new home, planning Christmas there.)

• “Come help us celebrate our marriage!” (She returned to her hometown and wed her high school friend, in May 2018, 62 years after graduation.)

• “I have reached the age where everyone asks … ‘Are you retired?’ (He’s worked for the same organization for decades.) My response is, ‘No. I’m not retired.’ Invariably, the next question is, ‘When are you planning on retiring?’ My answer is, ‘No plans to retire!’”

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