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.

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?

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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