Age is such joy! It brings hard-earned wisdom, a wealth of experience, inspiration for new passions and the confidence to try something new; it brings appreciation for long friendships, a capacity for compassion and a curiosity about the world that youth doesn’t offer.
Age, it seems, opens doors to the world of dance, art, a second career or finding love again with less worry about judgment. The people we discovered across six continents are making the most of their age and living life to the fullest, some to 100 or more.
The Carter Burden Gallery in New York City, nestled among a trio of exhibition spaces in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood, offers works by painters, sculptors and mixed media masters with one biographical detail in common: All are 60 or older. Pieces by previously undiscovered artists sell from several hundred to many thousands of dollars — market proof that the art scene isn’t just for younger up-and-comers.
Across the globe, creative expression of another sort takes place most mornings. In the sprawling municipality of Chongqing, China, those who love to dance can get their groove on at Bao Zhu, one of this city’s dozens of popular dance halls. The halls usually have three sessions throughout the day but the older clientele favors the 8:30 to 11 a.m. slot. Wu Difang, 66, and her dance partner, Long Junyou, 75, (pictured right) are regulars, but there is no need to come with a partner. For those who choose to come solo, the dance hall provides companionship along with a sense of freedom.
Tom Budzinski and Frances Hodges found passion too, in new love. Budzinski, 65, and Hodges, 63, first made contact online; in 2018 they met in person at The Villages, Florida, and discovered that they both love music and travel and that they each have two sons. They fell in love instantly and are now planning a wedding. “We radiate love,” Hodges says. “We think the fact that we are older is important. It’s saying to each other, ‘I’ve waited for you for my whole life. You’re the absolute most special, wonderful person.’”