Getting Close to Eighty

Dear classmates,

Over the years, I’ve paid little attention to my birthdays. A memorable one came at 50, when Sarah organized a dinner at a wonderful restaurant in NYC’s Chinatown with some of my best friends.

The other significant birthday came at 60, when I suddenly realized that my life was no longer full of unlimited possibilities and adventures. This was quite discouraging for a while.

Now 80 seems like it will be significant too. Almost like I’m at the top of a hill, an elder (albeit very active), but now I won’t have my ego pressing me so much in various ways.

Then two weeks ago, I received my weekly online blog/magazine called Brain Pickings (a strong recommendation: that you open it and see if you resonate to it).

One of the four featured sections was about . . . turning 80.

This story starts with an essay by the artist, Susan O’Malley, on “Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self.”

The genius behind the Brain Pickings, Maria Popov, uses this as a springboard to include the musings of Oliver Sacks, Donald Hall, and Henry Miller about what it’s like to be 80. She also includes links to what Pablo Casals and Pablo Picasso say about being 90.

Wouldn’t it be nice if some/many of our classmates wrote their own musings/feelings about what it’s like to be approaching 80.

3 comments on Getting Close to Eighty

  • Jack Killion

    Crazy as it sounds, it almost feels like I am just starting. Over the years I trained my “little brain” to be constantly on the alert for good people, good ideas and good opportunity. That’s my attitude approaching every day.

  • Kent Hackmann

    Thanks for recommending Brain Pickings. The content is on a high level. Musings on arriving at age 80 may have something to say to all of us. Donald Hall lives in the town just to the west of me. The poet’s eccentricities, which are part of life in rural New Hampshire, are captured well in the photo of him. His reward in life for reaching 80 seems to be the ability to be himself, without pretense. I associate myself with that message.

    Equally, Jack reports that he he has the feeling of just getting underway. Sounds greatly positive, and, to my eyes, certainly not crazy.

  • Jim Hinkle

    Yes, 80 is a daunting birthday. I remember a lady friend saying “80 is nothing like 70”. Of course we have no choice in the matter. I didn’t like turning 50, but here I am almost 30 years later.My husband of 51 years, Roy Hammer, ’62, is three years younger than I am which now begins to seem quite significant. Roy’s Mother, Ethel, lived with us for 12 years and died seven weeks shy of 100. That was in 2012, and since then we’ve done quite a bit of travel overseas: a cruise around italy, a river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, a cruise on both the Seine, and Rhone rivers, plus time in Paris, Last year we rented a flat in London for two weeks and had a ball. On May 5th we fly to Barcelona for an escorted tour of Northern Spain and Portugal which should be great fun. As long as we have our health we will continue to travel. However in little more than year I will be 80, and one wonders what the next decade will have in store for us.

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