“The first 80 years are the hardest,” said my 87-year-old lady friend with a frown that turned to a smile as she continued. “The second 80 are nothing but a succession of birthday parties!”
“Really,” she said, “once you reach 80, everyone wants to carry your packages and help you up the steps. If you forget your name, or an appointment, or your own phone number, or promise to be three places at the same time, or can’t remember how many grandchildren you have, you need only explain that you are 80.
“Being 80 is a lot better than being 70. At 70 people are mad at you for everything. At 80 you have a perfect excuse no matter what you do. If you act foolishly, it’s your second childhood. Everybody is looking for symptoms of softening of the brain.
“Being 70 is no fun at all. By that age they expect you to retire, move in with your children and complain about your arthritis (they used to call it lumbago). But survive to 80 and everyone is amazed that you’re still alive — they treat you with respect just for having lived so long!
“Actually they are surprised that you can walk and talk sensibly.
“So please, folks, do try to make it to 80. It’s the best time of life. People forgive you for anything! If you ask me life begins at 80!”