Happily Turning 80 as an Extraordinary Elder

Photo by Hannah Reding on Unsplash
Photo by Hannah Reding on Unsplash

I’m about to turn 80 years old on May 5, 2023. I speak, coach and write about Adventurous Aging – how to live life’s final decades as the best stage of our Earthly journey. Hey, I’m a role model and poster boy of defying the aging process, and the one who considers age to be merely a number, not a guilty verdict.

Yet, I’ve been uneasily thinking that age 80+ is culturally considered to be undeniably old age – when we expect physical and mental deteriorating. Is this what awaits me too? I made it through my 60s and 70s by not looking, feeling and acting old. But will that continue as I head into my 80s?

Being positive, optimistic and a bit of a rebel, I was determined to reject this downhill fate, and instead come up with an alternative intention! How could I reframe my 80s and beyond in an uplifting and empowering way? And avoid what I believe: Thinking too much about aging ages us.

Upon reflection, I realized that my ninth decade gives me the opportunity to benefit from a new identity and role: The Extraordinary Elder. Here I make a distinction between an older person who reaches an advanced age (The Ordinary Elder), and one who is able and eager to contribute to enhancing a critical aspect of society (The Extraordinary Elder).

The concept of the elder has been respected and valued in virtually all societies worldwide and throughout history. But not so in America and the West in the past 100 or so years – where elders now face prejudice, discrimination and abuse.

My personal Extraordinary Elder identity is based upon my experience, expertise and wisdom. I’ve realized that it includes the 4Cs:

  • Consciousness – the deeper awareness of the invisible energy of spirituality, which uplifts and expanding living.
  • Creativity – the renewing activity of living life as an in-process work of art, and making it a masterpiece.
  • Connection – the sharing and support that comes from nurturing relationships with a community, friends, family and life partner.
  • Contribution – the manifesting a life mission that benefits individuals, groups, society and the planet.

With this inspiring insight concerning my identity and life mission, my body has regained vitality and my mind direction. I have recommitted to helping people heal and grow, especially those over age 60.

My approach to stimulating seniors’ joy, insight and energy involves these two steps:

  • In my one-person musical/inspirational show, The Larry Show on Adventurous Aging (TheLarryShow.com), I share my ups-and-downs story, with its Stage 3 years (life after 60) demonstrating and celebrating my Adventurous Aging perspective, strategy and results – more wellness, passion, purpose, relationships, spirituality and fulfillment.
  • At the end of the show, I invite audience members, especially those over 60 to chat with me after the show or thereafter about how their life is going, and how Adventurous Aging might benefit them.

While I now accept that I am entering my 80s, I’m also working on seeing myself as ageless. I want to maximize by lifespan (longevity) by optimizing my healthspan (nearly or actually disease free). People’s healthspan ends seven years on the average before their lifespan expires (death).

By living our advanced years as a series of self-empowering adventures, I believe we can aspire to and achieve excellent holistic wellbeing. And thrive in this blissful state up to our final day on Earth. To make that happen for more people, the health sciences are researching how to strengthen our physical, mental and emotional aspects, while thought leaders are sharing about our spiritual dimension.

The prospect is for more of us to live our final decades as our best life yet – with individual fulfillment and social contribution!

For a fuller description of Adventurous Aging, see Larry’s Facebook.com posts on Adventurous Aging; to discuss this method with him, contact larryros@gmail.com.


  1. We Baby Boomers are not our grandparents’ or parents’ “80”—today, 80 is the new 60!! Live! Love! Laugh!

    • Sandra, that may be so for you and me. But I have observed that it gets harder to maintain this positive, bright and optimistic attitude as people age over 60, 70, 80 and 90 — as the losses and declines occur to physical and mental health. The data on healthspan (ending seven years on the average before death), incidence of chronic degenerative diseases (heart, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, etc.), increases in obesity, number of prescriptions taken, deaths of loved ones, injuries, etc. take a toll on this attitude. That is, UNLESS the seniors have a well-developed philosophy (meaning of life realization), strategy (working on holistic wellness}, renew the people they are close too (community), and spiritual/religious connection (relationship with a Higher Power). And this mindset dominates one’s life, even when the just mentioned conditions are happening.

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