Weirdly Happy Gatherings at 80!

At 80+ life becomes rather charmingly weird. 

Let me try to explain.
A largish party gathered at our house last month. Forty or so people, average age around 78, greeting, meeting, chatting and drinking and generating a wonderful sense of warmth and laughter

So what was this occasion?  No. It wasn’t a funeral, but at 80+ it isn’t at all strange to think that it could have been. All of us who were there knew that possibility. And had it been a funeral, then exactly the same, well, almost the same, crowd would have gathered!  We seem to be doing it every few weeks….

However, delighted to say that this time it was my toy boy husband’s 80th Birthday. He’d made it! Time to celebrate.

Yes, a strange time of life your eighties, continually alternating Funerals with marvellous 80th Birthdays or Diamond Weddings!

We have 10 of these eightieths due this year. Not sure yet about the Funerals..but the Birthdays are promising to be very intriguing occasions. One will be in a remote hotel on an island off Scotland’s West coast – bring your wellies. Another will be camping in the Lakes, but there is a barn….. One last year was in a mountain hut up the Cairngorms…everybody to hike there.
But some are conventional, a BBQ, a Family Knees up in the pub. Our next one is actually in a Victorian house and we are invited to dress appropriately. A chance to wear my Grandmothers Honiton lace collar and cameo brooch.

Very special, your 80th birthday.   It is an occasion when all parts of your long life really  come together.   Rather like a funeral except you have the fun of being there. The speeches , the stories probably  embarrassing pictures, it is almost an archaeology dig into your past! And such delightfully rich range of topics that brings up.Family, and friends are deep into nostalgia, avidly discussing past golf, and mountaineering exploits and of course in our case, Civil Engineering triumphs.

Your lifelong collection of friends join in.  One of the great treasures of older years! One couple had flown in from America, hence much Trump discussion and some rather good jokes. (You have to laugh…) Two were just off to New Guinea bird watching, another two just back from skiing And an old friend also was happily at  80 introducing his new fiancé! 

Fit and sparky lot this generation of oldies. Maybe they always were? But when I was working as a Physiotherapist I suspect my view of old age became distorted. We only saw the worst. I couldn’t comprehend being 80 as a happy period of life. But it is! Just the same normal people, though a bit rusty……very aware of the shortage of time, yet somehow serene, and determined to make the most of it. Discovering what pleasure there is in this period of life was a delightful surprise to me!

How nice if we could get everyone to understand that for many people the sad image of older years  is just not true.

When you are young, it is hard to imagine being old. You tend to get your impression from the doom and gloom media pictures or seeing wrinklies with Zimmers in the street.  It really is hard not to judge us Oldies  by  the standards of youth.  Inevitably  you risk falling into a stereotypical view of old age: frail, doddery, lonely, decline…..

But it isn’t like that!   Truly it isn’t.  Different from your younger years, yes.  But  for the great majority, there is still as much pleasure,  laughter, friendship and good times as ever there was. A lovely time of life!

I told you being 80 is weird. You see life differently.

I do hope you get there too and enjoy.


  1. rinaross
    May 14, 2017 / 11:04 am

    At 83 I suddenly find I have developped a strange sense of humour. Intense and serious until my 80s, with bad hearing and sight I suddenly realise the ridiculous side of many things.

    • May 14, 2017 / 9:24 pm

      You are so right!It is if at 80 + you develop a wicked sense of humour about life. Great fun and perhapsallowsyouto put your whole life into perspective? I find myself laughing at tethoughtofmyyoungerself’s decisions1

  2. May 14, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    If 80 was a time barrier I’m supersonic, and coming up to 82 in a month’s time. Canopies of the lawn, canapés on the plates (and loads of satay and curry of course since this is the tropics). Yes, life definitely begins at 80 and by the time you’re 82 you’re practically in the stratosphere.
    The only really sad thing about being this age is losing so many loved ones who never made it this far.

  3. May 14, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Totally agree. We are an amazing generation. Loving it!

  4. May 29, 2017 / 11:21 am

    Happy Birthday to GramdpaWilliams and I only hope I can surpass your years – I have a lot to do before then but looking forward to all those parties!

    • June 6, 2017 / 5:42 am

      Hi Maddy
      Many thanks for the Birthday wish and for your help this past year! It has been such fun and quite amazing!

Leave a Reply