Still Trucking at 81

Today, one of my DrawSomething partners online didn’t believe me when I told her I was 81. She said I wouldn’t be on DrawSomething if I were that old.

She must not know many 81-year-olds. When I’m at my computer (about 4 hours a day) I play DrawSomething with several partners, sing on Smule (badly), and am addicted to the game BlocksAway. DrawSomething helps me dust off my sketching skills. In the 1950s I was an art major at the University of Wisconsin.

I move, too. I swim several times a week and walk my dog Trudy every morning. I have an electric scooter that I ride around the neighborhood in good weather and take on camping trips. About once a month, Trudy and I travel in my 21-foot camper to the beach and state parks in north Florida. It has everything–a microwave, gas stove, refrigerator, bathroom, running water,  and AC. It has a TV, but I never use it. I camp to get away from civilization. I also travel outside the U.S. frequently. Since my 70th birthday, I’ve been to Alaska (once alone, once with my daughter), Antarctica, Ecuador, and Vietnam.

Before retirement, I was a science writer. Now I write self-help articles and books, and publications about animals. I am finishing “Wild Dogs of the World” and “Great Animal Escape Stories” for middle school readers as e-books. Another book, “The EZ Big Book,” has been selling well as a paperback and e-book for over 3 years. I have graduate degrees in social sciences research (MS) and counseling (EdS). Graduate school was an experiment. After a year of listening to clients, I decided to become a mole again and returned to writing. I attend concerts regularly and read about three books a week.

I play the guitar and keyboard, but not very well. I’ve been playing the piano accordion since I was a 10-year-old kid in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I still pick that up when my fingering isn’t too stiff.

I laugh a lot and my friends think I’m funny. The above photo was taken in Antarctica 3 years ago. I’m well preserved, and the illusion is supported by regular hair coloring at the beauty salon.

To be 81 isn’t the same as being dead. That will come soon enough.

6 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Are you also an INFJ-type personality? I understand that typology doesn’t pinpoint all of our strengths and weaknesses in pretty, organized boxes but life is extremely challenging!

    At 81, can you say from experience that life has been worth living, with it’s ups, downs and INFJ quirks thrown in there amongst other things?

    You sound like a spicy, well-rounded 81 (?) year old!

    • beaconadmin
      beaconadmin says:


      Life isn’t always easy, but it’s almost always an adventure. I think INFJs tend to feel more sadness and perhaps anger about injustice than most other types. On the other hand, we experience more excitement, joy, and creativity. We take things more seriously than most people, but we also laugh more easily. And we get a lot done (the J function at work). I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

    • beaconadmin
      beaconadmin says:

      Yes, I’m an INFJ. My Myers-Briggs preferences have helped me maintain my energy and passion for 82 years, I think. We INFJs can be crusaders for truth and justice (if not the American way of life), and that propels us forward. I’m active in animal welfare causes, childhood education, and environmental organizations. It’s hard to give up on those things because I believe in them so fully. Some days when it all seems too much, I go to bed with a book. But then a friend calls trying to find a good home for her dog, and I’m off again.

      Barb Cox

  2. roger elmore
    roger elmore says:

    Has there been any research done on which MB personality types INFJ’s are most and least romantically attracted to? My wife and I agree that we are total opposites, whatever that means. What MB personality type would be the antithisis of INFJ’s like me?

    • beaconadmin
      beaconadmin says:


      I can’t find any studies that address the romantic compatibility of various Myers Briggs types. I’m not sure I’d believe the results, anyhow. The issue is too subjective and complex for conventional analyses. However, I did research the opinions of Myers Briggs experts on the pairing of INFJs with various types. Their conclusions are consistent with mine.

      INFJs do best with partners who have intuition as a dominant function. Sensing types don’t understand the minds of intuitives and therefore can’t adapt to their way of thinking. On the other hand, extraverts—while different from introverts in their need for social contact—often make good matches because they take the introverts into the outer world, offering a balance that the INFJ may lack. Perceiving types make healthy matches, too. They help the judging function of the INFJ loosen up. They encourage the judging type to relax and become less outcome-oriented, at least some of the time. Perceiving types tend to take a playful, unstructured approach to life.

      For INFJs, this boils down to four good Myers Briggs matches: ENFJ, ENTP, INTJ and fellow INFJs. Of course, other types can be compatible if both partners are dedicated to the relationship and are willing to grow together.

      The following types are considered the worst matches: ESFP, ESTP, ESTJ, and ENTJ. The pairing of a sensing person with an intuitive person tends to result in frustration. They wear themselves out trying to understand each other. The sensing types can’t for the life of them figure out why INFJs find their intuitive function so reliable—why they don’t focus on concrete facts instead. Intuitive types get impatient with the long, drawn-out data-gathering that sensing types need to do before making a decision.

      When the thinking function is added to the sensing function in a partner, there’s an added problem. INFJs feel that STs not only have a weak grasp of abstract ideas and forecasts but they have little emotional investment in critical issues. While the ENTJ does have strongly developed intuition, the person has little patience with emotional issues that can’t be brought to closure quickly. This offends the altruistic, compassionate INFJ.

    • beaconadmin
      beaconadmin says:


      Being an INFJ myself, I would say that our Myers Briggs antithesis would be the ISTJ. I’ve rarely gotten along well with them–primarily because of differences in our N/S and F/T functions. I find them overly focused on details, unable to respect intuitive creativity, and lacking in warmth in interpersonal situations. It probably doesn’t help that we’re both introverts, leading each of us to emphasize our incompatible views of the world. Moreover, ISTJs aren’t usually outwardly affectionate and I am. They have many positive traits, but my relationships with them don’t seem to endure long enough for me to discover them. This, I’m sure, says as much about me as it does about them.

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