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Sunday, January 13, 2013

There was a time that living to be 80 years old was considered a rare feat and an ancient old age. Thankfully, today 80 is like the new 50, and almost everyone gets there eventually. What to get someone for their 80th birthday may well be a book or a bottle of wine. But those may be too unexciting for today’s 80 year olds. An airline ticket to an exciting destination may be the more welcomed gift.

For example, visiting an exotic location in China may be on everyone’s bucket list. A bucket list, of course, is a list of things people want very much to do before they die. If buying this kind of present is too costly for your budget, you might want to get together with a few other friends and chip in for a plane ticket to foreign climes, or a weekend getaway closer to home.

But nowhere too tame, please! That would be insulting to an in-shape 80 year old man or woman. While you don’t want to send them mountain climbing on Mt. Kilimanjaro or off to any other life-threatening activity, you do want to demonstrate some flattery in your birthday suggestion. Remember, George Bush, Sr. went skydiving for his 85th birthday.  Perhaps some rock climbing lessons would be a thoughtful gift. Many gymnastic facilities have rock-climbing walls. Climbing lessons are a necessary first step before taking to actual rock climbing. It's a sure way to find out what you can and cannot do when faced with a wall of rocks.

But first it's important to build up endurance. One good way is simply by walking long and far. Work up to four- to six-hour hikes. Be sure to wear your hiking boots and hiking backpack. Choose locations for your climbing trips that have both mountainous and flat areas for easy climbs. Don’t hike during extreme weather conditions. There are magazines that give guidance and tips for successful climbs. The beginner is advised not to plan solo trips and also to get a physical before climbing While rock climbing is an exhilarating experience, it can also be dangerous.

So maybe just a day trip to a lovely location to relax and enjoy the outdoors, or an afternoon trip to a museum, arboretum or a zoo with lunch at a chic bistro would be a welcome change to daily routine.  Just because someone is 80 years old, it doesn’t mean they want a cup of chicken soup for lunch and a nice warm sweater for their birthday.  These days, most people aren’t sitting around waiting for the grim reaper; they are more likely to want to learn and experience everything they can, and most of them have a closet full of thoughtful “stuff” that they’re never going to use.  So plan an experience for that big 80th birthday that you know they will enjoy.  And don’t think that they necessarily want to do that thing alone.  Doing something exciting, different and fun with loved ones, either family or friends, ranks pretty high on anyone’s list.

by: Woodstock Candy


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