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Oh Betty, how we miss you. That mischievous laugh, perfect comedic timing, beautiful smile and funny zingers are just a few of the reasons why the whole world is in mourning. These days, it seems people disagree on just about everything, but the entire country is in total agreement that Betty White was a national treasure. She belonged to my parent’s generation, yet my 20-year-old grandson wrote a moving tribute to her on his Facebook page. She touched the lives of millions for an astounding seven decades! To say she was an icon is probably underestimating the impact she had on our lives.

Today, celebrities seem to “reinvent” themselves every few years. Many keep changing their looks, dress, style and direction. In a chaotic world, Betty White was the real deal. A woman who never really altered how she looked or acted and seemed to know that aging was simply a fact of life and a gift from God. If Betty had plastic surgery, we didn’t know about it. Her political views were held privately. She was a trailblazer. She said she never had children, because “she didn’t want kids.” This might not be a big deal today, but in the 1940s and 1950s this was against the grain. She never complained or explained — just did things her way.

Betty White had a huge television presence and has said that she felt “privileged” that she was invited into the living rooms of Americans on a weekly basis. She found the love of her life in Allen Ludden and, when he died in 1981, never remarried. They had 18 “blissful” years together. She also showed the world that the “show can go on” after loss. Keep living.

When Betty White was in her 60s, she played the part of dim and funny Rose in the television hit “Golden Girls.”  I wish the writers of “And Just Like That,” the rather awkward sequel to “Sex in the City,” could have taken a few pages out of the “Golden Girls” scripts. Women can be beautiful and have fun in “older years” without all the angst and wokeness of trying to be hip. The message from Betty White seemed to be “life can be good at any age.” Get on with it!

Most Americans have an idea that they want to retire by the age of 65. OK, great. Betty White was starring in the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” when she was in her 90s! Again, she seemed to be messaging that if you can and want to work, why stop? Betty showed that you can be relevant at any age. Do what you love!

In a world obsessed with glamor, youth and celebrity, Betty White remains one “star” who shines bright. She was a pioneering animal rights activist devoted to saving endangered species and improving conditions at the Los Angeles Zoo. She supported local shelters and animal welfare endeavors throughout her life. To celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday this week, we might each consider donating to animal shelters or adopting a pet. Happy birthday, Betty White.