Staying forever young is all about perspective – just take it from Betty White.
Days away from celebrating her 99th birthday, the legendary comedienne revealed her simple yet effective secret to living a long life.
“I don’t like the other side,” White told PEOPLE. “The positive side is a lot more fun.”
White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. She initially wanted to be a forest ranger, but women weren’t allowed to enter the field at the time.
Decades later, White sort of fulfilled her dream when the U.S. Forest Service made her an honorary first ranger at 88 years old.
Although unable to pursue her desired path, White eventually found success in radio and television. She continues to enjoy an illustrious career spanning over eight decades and counting, winning five Emmy Awards and playing memorable TV roles that endeared her to the nation.
White is widely known for her role as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the good-natured Rose Nylund in “The Golden Girls.” She has also appeared in countless talk shows and game shows.
As one of the true pioneers in the entertainment industry, White has become a national treasure so loved and admired by her colleagues and fans.
The years have been definitely kind to her, and White is just grateful.
“I am blessed with good health, so turning 99 is no different than turning 98,” she said.
When asked what keeps her forever young, she had a simple explanation.
“A sense of humor,” she said. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself.”
White will have a quiet birthday this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But although COVID-19 has spoiled her plans to run a mile, the energetic actress has found something better to do.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, White said she is “working on getting ‘The Pet Set’ re-released” on her birthday.
White hosted the 1971 show, which had 31 episodes and featured celebrities such as Doris Day, Carol Burnett, and Della Reese with their pets – bears, cougars, elephants, gorillas, kangaroos, tigers and zebras – you name it. They talked about all things animals—including wildlife preservation—in the weekly program.
“Betty White’s Pet Set” will be re-released on streaming platforms and DVD on February 23, just in time for its 50th anniversary.
The star has been a long-standing advocate for animals and a staunch supporter of several organizations that aim to protect them. In fact, part of her birthday plans also includes “feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day.”
A representative for White said she is staying home to protect herself from contracting the deadly virus. No one is allowed in her home “except those who must.”
But once life gets back to normal, White said she is looking forward to “visiting with close friends and bringing food to my animal friends.”
In May, her publicist also said that she is keeping busy and doing well amid the quarantine.
“The animal community is watching over her,” the rep said. “The virus is afraid of Betty!”
White will officially be a centenarian next year, and her simple advice to living a good, long life and staying forever young is this:
“Again, having a sense of humor,” she said. “Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. Takes up too much energy being negative. Also having a good agent who keeps me busy all the time.”
Wise words from the legend herself; we’re definitely taking notes. Happy birthday, Betty White!