Pope Benedict XVI gave his resignation effective February 28, 2013. Despite his age of 85, this decision seems to have taken the world by surprise. One has to wonder how long folks expect others to work. The expected retirement age in the United States is 65 but we see people working years longer. Looking at well-known people who still seem active, it is clear that 65 is no longer considered old. Focusing on those age 85 and older, actors and actresses seem to do quite well. Sean Connery isn't there yet. He is only age 82. But another James Bond, Roger Moore is age 85 although he seems to be retired.
You can't get away from seeing Betty White. At age 91, she seems to have caught her second wind. She is on tv shows, has appeared in movies and makes us all wish that we have her energy when we pass 65. Jerry Stiller is still working at age 86. Still a kid, Dick Van Dyke can still dance his way into our hearts, even at age 87. If a show needs someone who looks like, well, Abe Vigoda, they get Abe Vigoda who is still earning paychecks at age 91.
Kirk Douglas makes appearances at his advanced age of 97. Eli Wallach is more than a memory also at age 97. Christopher Lee still scares us at his age of 90. I don't think Angela Lansbury, aka Jessica Fletcher, will ever retire even though she is age 87.
Politicians are not immune to living long and busy lives. Jimmy Carter continues to be our global ambassador at age 88. Nelson Mandela makes headlines at age 96. Perennial presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche is age 90. I wonder what he would do if he won.
Our space race has given us heroes that are still active. John Glenn is 91 and Chuck Yeager is 89. Our former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, must be taking his vitamins. He is age 96. And another religious figure, Billy Graham, is 94.
There are a whole lot more of our senior citizens who continue to make the headlines. These figures are the ones who show us that 60 is the new 45 and 80 is the new 60. They kind of beg the question, should the pope retire at age 85? While the other people mentioned have been notable in their own right, none of them leads more than one billion people. Traveling to other countries would tire anyone out, regardless of age. In March of 2012, he traveled to Mexico and Cuba. In September, he traveled to Lebanon.
As the successor to Saint Peter, the pope is responsible for running the Catholic Church. He has to make many administrative decisions as well as teach the faithful on current issues. He has written three encyclicals that covered the topics God is Love, Saved by Hope and Charity in Truth. In addition, he says Mass, holds audiences and gives speeches. You can follow his daily schedules by visiting his website. Retire? Yes. It's a wonder he has been able to be so vigorous this long. Most folks begin to slow down by age 70. It's time to take a break.