Friday, June 30, 2017

The Joy of Turning 80

As hard as it is to believe, my dear wife June celebrates her 80th birthday today. In that connection I thought about writing an article titled “Life Begins at 80”—but that seems to be pushing it.
Why Is It a Joy to Turn 80?
June Tinsley Seat (6/28/17)
When I mentioned this title to June, she was not overly impressed—and she reminded me that I was not there yet—which is true: she is 411 days older than I. Still, as fast as time passes I’ll be celebrating my 80th before long.
Why is it a joy? she asked. Even though it is somewhat of a cliché, I replied, Well, it is a joy compared with the only possible alternative.
It is certainly true that some people dearest to June didn’t even come close to celebrating their 80th birthday. Her own father died at the age of 47. June’s idolized maternal grandmother died in 1926 at the very young age of 41.
While June had other close relatives who lived to 80 and well beyond—her mother lived to 93—it is a blessing for her to turn 80 when so many others did not make it to that age. 
Things that Make for Joy
There are several factors that make June’s turning 80 a special joy, both to her and to me. Let me list a few.
1) She is in good health. That is mainly because, I think, that through the decades she has observed good health habits, such as keeping her weight down and exercising regularly.
2) She has maintained a very good relationship with her children and grandchildren through the years—and there are a lot of years! In June’s case she has been a mother for more than 208½ years and a grandmother for more than 136½ years (figured by adding how long she has been a mother and grandmother for each of her four children and seven grandchildren.)
3) She has kept her commitments and has bloomed where she was planted. One commitment was her marriage vows to me—and I appreciate her putting up with me for more than 721 months now. And in spite of struggles of the language and the challenge of rearing children overseas and of being separated from them when they returned to the U.S. for college, she has made the most of her 38 years in Japan and then for the last 13 years back here in the States.
All the above means that she has basically lived a life without regrets, and for any of us that is of utmost importance.
“Live your life so that at the end of it you’ll have no regrets” is a piece of advice that is sometimes given to young people. Whether anyone said those words to June or not—and she certainly is not at the end yet—that, I believe, is the way she has lived in the more than 62 years I have known her.
That is a large part of the joy she has now in turning 80.
What about You?
A few of my regular blog readers have already turned 80. Most haven’t.
So, to all of you who are about my age and will soon celebrate your 80th birthday like June does today, and especially to all of you who are younger—especially much younger—I encourage you to take care of your health, your relationships, and your commitments.
Most importantly, live your life so that when (or if) you turn 80 you’ll have the joy of celebrating that milestone with few regrets.


  1. Dad,
    This is a lovely article about Mom. I admire her so much and agree that these are three key ingredients to her happy life. I value her wisdom and support, and I treasure our times together. May she continue to enjoy the sweet fruit of a life well lived!
    With love and admiration,

  2. Happy Birthday, June! Celebrate well!

    Like you, I have not yet reached my 80th, which, thankfully, give me a few years yet to lose weight, exercise more, dance some, laugh some, and play games in addition to working to produce an income, working toward theosis, and looking toward the coming golden years. But just the other day my Mom called me "Mzee" (an elder). The years are passing.

    Press on!

  3. Happy 80th birthday June! Yes, 80 was a beautiful year to pass over with many blessings. June, you still look 18 year old beautiful with bleached hair white. Well, though our years of three together in Fukuoka was short but we feel you have been with us all along. Thank you very much for being good friends! Blessings!

  4. Local Thinking Friend Ed Chasteen wrote, "80 is in my rear view mirror. Rabbi ben Ezra was right."

    I assume he is referring to the poem by Robert Browning that begins, "Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be..."

    But, sadly, I am afraid that is not true, in this world at least, for most of us who are already 80 or who will soon be.

  5. Wishing you all the best of the 80+ days until you reach another milestone, that is tomorrow. You are living a life with different circumstances than those loved ones who have passed at an earlier age. With the latest technology and information mainstream there is a wealth of "tips" to help diminish health decline. As long as you stay in the loop, as Leroy outlines, " Health minded" "Interactive with life" and "Committed to life forms" then... all the best to you whatever that end marker may be.

  6. Happy birthday, June! A birthday is an interesting combination of pleasure and self-conscious anxiety. I remember years ago when a young nephew of mine came to the rescue of his grandfather when all us rude adults starting singing "Happy Birthday" to Grandpa. Sometimes I wonder which of us did not understand the moment. Enjoy the the excitement, and then the peace that will come for the next 364 days!

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