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5 Things Betty White has Taught Us about Getting Older

By Jan Bolder - May 12, 2014

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If we ever needed living proof of everything that's great with getting older, we don't have to look any further than Betty White. The 92-year-old actress is living proof that you're only as old as you feel, and all you have to do is keep doing exactly what you love to do. Betty White is the kind of person who not only marches to the beat of her drummer, but helps others do it, too, by reinventing herself periodically while still maintaining her true self. Here are some of the best lessons we've learned from her.

You Still Remember Your Best Love, No Matter How Many Years go By

In 1961, White met a man by the name of Allen Ludden, who was the host of a popular game show called Password. Immediately smitten, she dated him for two years...but rejected his first two proposals. She finally accepted in 1963 and was married to him until his death in 1981 of stomach cancer. Ludden made such a strong impression on her that she never remarried, telling Larry King ""Once you've had the best, who needs the rest? I made two mistakes before Allen, but the love of your life doesn't come along in every life, so I am very grateful that I found him."

Communication is Always Possible

Whether you're an intellectual biped or furry gorilla, you both have the ability to tell others what you want and need and pick up on that from others. White's favorite animal is Koko, the signing gorilla. She regularly goes into Koko's enclosure to have a conversation, saying, "she signs — makes me aware of what she’s saying as well as talking to her… It’s just mind-boggling to look into those eyes and to be talking to her and realize how aware she is of everything you’re saying. I think my most exciting privilege of all my animal contacts.”

There Doesn't Have to be Such a Thing as Retirement

White has no plans to hang up the hat — ever. She really enjoys what she does and finds a lot of fulfilment out of it, and is loathe to give up that part of her identity. In fact, she plans on working until she keels over from it: "“Retire? I’m not sure the meaning of that word, I hear it once in a while, out there somebody did it. But no. I’m going to die in the saddle.”

There's Beauty in Every Age

You may not have the body you did in your 20s, but that's a good thing. Your mind has grown to appreciate what's really important in life, and it's definitely not how you look in a bikini. What is important, though, is the respect and love you have for yourself, and always knowing you have something to offer the world. Or, in White's words, "I may be a senior, but so what? I'm still hot."

Seniors and Young People Have a Special Relationship

The two-generation gap is the perfect one because there's just enough separation that neither tells the other what to do, and there are enough years between them to make for really valuable conversations. Young people can pick up on the wise life lessons of seniors, while seniors get the inside scoop on what's hot in the future from their younger counterparts. In response to the newer generation of fans White's picked up, she says: "They kind of think, 'Well, she's always here, so we might as well watch her.' And it's fun. You meet friends of all ages on the street."

Next time you ponder what it means to become older, think back to Betty White and how gracefully she's grown into it. It can be one of the best times of your life if you just let it, and go along for the ride.