By now you have likely heard much about Betty White’s 90th birthday celebration. She celebrated with a start studded television special. Jokes were cracked, clips shown, well-wishing video messages were played, and through it all Betty smiled graciously.
This American television icon has been in the business for over 70 years. From her commercials, to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, to Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland, numerous other shows and guest spots, a Super Bowl Snickers ad, sharing a shower with Hugh Jackman, getting a lap dance on Ellen, hosting Saturday Night Live, and so much more, we have seen Betty White take on just about everything. The tributes were funny and heartfelt and the special was good clean fun.
To prove she’s not done yet, the birthday special was followed by Betty’s new series, Off Their Rockers, a show about older people punking younger people. I decided to watch the show just to see what Betty had decided to devote her efforts to. To sum things up (since this isn’t a television show review site) there were some funny bits and some bits that fell flat. The sketches between the punking were forced. That said, I liked the show because it didn’t try to make anyone look bad and it didn’t hurt anyone like a lot of these formulaic shows do.
What I really ended up reflecting on was Betty herself. She is well known and well loved. She is the friend next door we want to have. She has remained so for more than 70 years because she has found a way to remain relevant. She has changed with the times, but not in a way that abandons who she is or what she values doing. She’s got this aging thing figured out! No, I don’t really know her, but this is my take on her.
Near the end of her birthday special Betty commented that she was fortunate to have spent so many years doing what she loves with people she loves and getting away with it. To me, that is a great statement about her life. It caused me to reflect on my life, its path, and where the road leads in my future. I want to be 90 and saying the same thing she did. Easier said than done? I don’t know…what do you think? Are you on your path of bliss? How are you staying relevant as you age? Do you think you will be able to look back and see a joyous journey? If not, what is the one small step you can take to move in that direction?
It may be overused right now, but Betty, you are an inspiration. Thank you for being a friend.
In addition to being the Center's Senior Projects Director, Kristin Huff teaches courses for the Center's new Project Management Certificate for Human Services Professionals.