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What dating at 80 can reveal about the delightfulness of life and being human.

3 stories about dating in the golden years give a surprising existential perspective.

What dating at 80 can reveal about the delightfulness of life and being human.

When you think of yourself in your 80s, what do you imagine?

Living in a nursing home? Having been married for 40 years and settling into your final phase, content with the life you've already had? Maybe that will be how it goes. Maybe not.

What if it turns out that the wheel of circumstance keeps spinning and you still have a lot of spark left in you and find yourself single or widowed? For many, the love of life and connecting with new people keeps going in spite of the fact that they're aging.


Here are three stories about older people dating that could make you see aging in a new way.

1. Pearl and Charles, meeting for their first blind date

Pearl is 77, and Charles is 80. They met on one of the multitude of online dating sites for the senior set, Mature Dating, which documented the blind date as a video. (A couple of others are AARP's dating site and OurTime, for singles over 50.)

Pearl reminisces about her first date when she was younger, and she recalls holding hands and "going to the pictures." Charles admits he feels a little embarrassed to be 80 and going on a blind date. But look at what a great time they have!

Turning up the charm with some friendly yellow roses. Darling. GIFs via Mature Dating.

After that lovely greeting, they go to lunch and then walk around London, taking in the sights.

And they have a super-cute ending to their date, where they appear to have hit it off. They're asked if they think they'll see each other again. Pearl gamely goes out on a limb with an enthusiastic, affirmative answer, but Charles playfully pretends he's not sure. "Could be," he muses, before laughing and admitting that it's very likely.

Pearl seems to enjoy Charles' prankster side. Is it a match?

2. Bruce and Bernadetta Bateman, who met at their retirement community

You know how people can buy or rent condos, apartments, or houses in mini-villages that are exclusive to retirees? Bruce and Bernadetta lived in such a community, and when Bruce got a neighborly greeting from Bernadetta one day while gardening, he was interested immediately. He sent a note to console her when her pet passed away, and they've pretty much been together ever since.

They married in 2012 after a whirlwind courtship at the respective ages of 76 and 73 and didn't worry too much about whether they were rushing things:

“With all that background and experience [prior marriages and life lessons], we knew what we needed. We absolutely knew it was the right thing to do." — Bruce Bateman


Bruce and Bernadetta Bateman didn't waste any time on doubts. Image by Tim Shortt/Florida Today, used with permission.

3. And an unnamed, 76-year-old, lovestruck suitor interviewed on NPR

He didn't want to say his name because he was going to propose to the woman he loves a week after the interview. His wife passed away eight years ago after they'd been together over 40 years. After some time, he looked up a woman he'd been very interested in during high school but too shy to go for.

But there were some red flags about this marriage proposal: The relationship was more friendly and not romantic in nature, despite the pair having spent a full week together in her home multiple times; he had told her he loved her and not gotten the same answer back; and she had encouraged him to date other people.

And yet this man was willing to jump in with both feet and possibly feel like a fool just to find out if there was to be a future with her or not — at least until the interviewer, Ira Glass of "This American Life," introduced some doubt into his mind about the wisdom of this proposal.

The moral is: We're never too old for love.

In a way, it's kind of comforting to think that no matter our age, lived experiences, or accumulated wisdom, we silly humans can still be soft enough to take risks for love and feeling alive. Do you know someone like that to share this with?

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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