4 Elders Who Know How to Celebrate Their Birthday the Right Way

Once we reach a certain age, it becomes an unfortunate truth that birthdays no longer hold the same allure that they did when we were children.

The eager anticipation of presents, cake and celebrating with friends that accompanied the anniversary of our birth when we were younger too often gets replaced by the depressing lament that we’re, “just one year closer to death.”

But why don’t we look forward to turning 70 with the same joie de vivre that we did when we were turning 7?

It turns out that some people do know how to hold onto that joy and, ironically, they are some of the eldest among us. So, instead of adopting the gloomy outlook of the misanthropic masses, perhaps we should throw ageism out the window and cast our eyes to our elders. Indeed, there are a surprising number of older adults who, instead of being bogged down by their advancing age, are embracing it with a big bear hug and celebrating it with some truly amazing feats.

The next time your birthday rolls around, try to avoid getting down in the dumps about another year gone. Instead, take your cue from your elders and celebrate your big day by:

Jumping off a bridge: A birthday trip down a zip line to celebrate her 101st birthday apparently didn’t give Dorothy Custer, a centenarian living in Twin Falls, Idaho, enough of an adrenaline rush. To ring in her 102nd birthdate, Custer decided to ditch the cord and BASE jump off a local bridge. When asked why she wanted to commemorate 102 years of living by making a death-defying leap, Custer told reporters at FOX 14, a local news channel, “I guess probably because I don’t know any better.” See the incredible video of her jump above… and her interview with Jay Leno on the next page.

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Just for fun, here’s another clip of Dorothy’s hilarious interview with Jay Leno…

Flying around in circles: Turning 90 years old meant making twice as many in-flight turns for pilot John Lawton. Last week, Lawton achieved his goal of crossing the border between the United States and Canada 90 times in an airplane piloted by himself. A World War II veteran and retired Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory engineer, Lawton told reporters from The Buffalo News, “It doesn’t serve any practical purpose. It’s just to see if I can do it.”

Hopping out of an airplane: Fred Mack Jr. decided to spend his 100th birthday jumping out of a plane. Now, amazing though this feat may seem, it wasn’t Mack’s first encounter with sky-diving. The centenarian made the exact same jump when he turned 95. As you’ll hear in the interview below, before his second jump, one of the crew members asked Mack, “Are you ready?” “No,” he replied. But, it turns out that he was ready. Mack was able to complete his second dive without incident and to great applause. Watch this clip all the way through to hear his awesome philosophy on procrastination at age 100…

Saving the world: For her 105th birthday, Edythe Kirchmaier wanted nothing more than to spread the word about the charity she’d been volunteering with for over four decades—Direct Relief International, an organization that provides medicine and other health care supplies to impoverished and disaster-stricken areas. She appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show to let the world know how they could help make her birthday wish come true—by “liking” Direct Relief’s Facebook page. Edythe’s goal was 105,000 “likes” by the end of the year; the page currently has more than 121,000 likes. You can read more about Edythe’s story here: Facebook’s Oldest User Makes Big-Hearted Birthday Wish

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By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor


Rosemary H.
Rosemary H4 years ago

Well, I'm not saying which birthday I've just had because it makes me sound a lot older than I really am!!!;-) I've had to reinvent my life a number of times, but I'm still psyched up with the kind of enthusiam that can make all the difference. I told a good friend that I intend to live to my late 90s and she said: 'Why not make it 100?' So that's my aim.

However my body isn't what it used to be, so I'll omit the sky jumps. My enthusiasm is for painting, and for enjoying the wonderful countryside I now live in - just what I always dreamt of!

Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim4 years ago


Jane R.
Jane R4 years ago

They are amazing people, especially Dorothy! I just loved watching and listening to her.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W4 years ago


B Jackson
BJ J4 years ago

Will definitely give these ideas (& others) some thought for my 100th b-day. Thank you.

Sandi C.
Sandi C4 years ago

way to go.

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert4 years ago

President Bush (41) also did the skydiving thing, I think for his 90th

Sea L.
Svetlana B4 years ago

Thank you

Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard4 years ago

Thank you