Currently reading Karl Pillmer’s 30 Lessons for Loving. The gerontologist (swoon!) interviews hundreds of older adults about their relationships. In his intro, he answers the age-old question: what do we call seniors? We struggle with this all.the.time. at work. “Senior citizens” is too dated, “older adults” too clinical. I love his conclusion: they’re the experts.
It got me thinking about last Thursday, sharing the day with some incredible experts. Papa turned 90 on October 8 and thanks to Mom and Dad’s generosity, I got to fly to LA to celebrate his birthday. It was a wonderful lunch celebration at a delicious deli in the valley with Papa and Betty’s friends and family.
Some of my favorite lessons from the experts:
1) No matter how old you are, it is always exciting to have a birthday. Papa could not believe he was 90 years old, no matter how many times he excitedly asked about his age. Even at 90, he was thrilled to have a birthday.
2) When you’re over 90, you eat what you want. Papa’s friend Mimi, a deli connoisseur, kept imploring me to get a pastrami sandwich. She’s a classy, svelte older lady, so you can imagine my surprise when a GIANT plate of piping hot pastrami arrived for her. And she ordered bread for more sandwiches. Go Mimi!
3) Always, always, always tilt the glass when you pour champagne! Papa’s friend Jay, 93, sweetly scolded after my failed champagne pour.
4) Always, always, always drink all the champagne! It was an absolute treat watching Dorothy, 100(!!), delight in her mimosas and bubbly all afternoon.
5) If someone is going to take your photo, PUT SOME LIPSTICK ON. Dorothy was totally prepared for photo time. I never wear anything on my lips (borrrrringgg) starting to think that should change.
With Dorothy, looking vibrant in her bold lip, and Jay
6) Be a good friend. Stay close to your friends. Papa’s best friend Ben, 90, celebrated with us and regaled us with fun stories of their seven decades of friendship.
7) Just be nice. After the party, we were hanging out with Papa, and totally unprovoked he said, “People are always nice to me. I’ve always been nice to people and always liked people, and they just like me.” Papa is a total role model for kindness, sweetness and generosity toward others. For 90 years, the world has been all the better for it.