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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.

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?

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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But soon, reality sets in and if they have more kids, they'll probably be raised with a lot less attention. As a result, first-born kids turn out a bit differently than their younger siblings.

"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."

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