Like many in my audience, I was a big fan of Betty White. I was a fan before it was fashionable. In December 2012, I recorded a video about her, but my admiration for her preceded the video. As a geriatrician, I am in awe of individuals who live long, healthy and productive lives. In my presentation, I referred to Betty White as the “poster child” for successful aging. A superb actress, and as a comedian, she was revered as a master of timing. She exemplified all the traits that I observed which lead to successful aging.
Environment & Roots
Betty was a humanitarian and showed her love for all animals by nurturing her own and supporting causes that protected animals. Her activity had a positive impact on the Environment in which she and the rest of us live. She established deep Roots within the community of activists supporting animals and in her acting community.
As tributes rolled in the days following her death, just a few weeks short of her 100th birthday, it was clear that she established Connections with everyone she spent time with; in her profession and beyond. While she lost the love of her life forty years prior to her own death, she established loving relationships with hundreds of others whose path crossed hers.
Goals & Attitude
The Goals she set and her passions went beyond her humanitarian interests. We learned she was basically the first television sitcom actress and performed in more successful TV programs than any other actress. She was invited to host Saturday Night Live at age 88. We know from others how grueling it is to prepare for that performance. It took a powerful belief in herself and purpose to perform as host. Throughout her life (except for her part as Sue Nevins in The Mary Tyler Moore Show), she projected the most positive Attitude and appeared to be grateful for everything she had in life.
As we mourn the loss of Betty White, we can all reflect on a life well-lived, full of GRACE:
Goals, Roots, Attitude, Companionship, and (a positive) Environment.
Rest in peace, Betty.
For fun … view my video about Betty from 2012, Be More Like Betty White. (Please be mindful that in 2012, I had not perfected all the video skills I currently possess.)
To a Long and Healthy Life,
David Bernstein, MD
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