On milestone birthday, Al Roker shares 6 lessons for 6 decades

First, 50th-birthday celebrations were in order for TODAY’s Hoda Kotb. Now, co-anchor Al Roker, who joined the national broadcast in 1996, is celebrating the big 6-0. (And he did it in style). 

“I have no reservations about it,” Roker said of his 60th birthday. “It is a milestone, but I'm happy, healthy and very lucky.”

He’s not alone in feeling that way. According to those who responded to a TODAY poll, 75 percent said turning 60 is no big deal, 72 percent said they feel younger than their age, and 69 percent have better self-esteem than respondents in their 40s and 50s.

“I really do think 60 today is different from what our parents' 60 was,” Roker said. “I feel like I'm going faster than ever. I think [at] 50, you’re kind of hitting your stride, and I think — all things being equal — at 60, you’re cruising. You literally are cruising now, and if, God willing, your health stays good, you know, you just keep moving till the parts wear out.”

And while he’s moving, he’s got goals.

“As you get older, you know inherently that time is going to be compressed,” he said. “I want to fill that time up with as much positive and as much good as possible.”

Roker’s also learned some lessons along the way. Here are six he shared with TODAY:

Family comes first
“The thing that's got to be most important to you has got to be your family. And whatever you do, that's got to be your guiding principle. (It’s important) they know that I love them, that they matter the most to me, above all else, and that, even if I'm not there, they are still present and I am still present.”

Health matters
“When it comes to your health, you — and especially guys — I think we put that on the back burner. You wouldn’t reschedule your kids’ pediatrician appointment; why would you cheat yourself on that workout?”

Find a rewarding hobby
“I think you need to have something that relaxes you and takes you away from what you normally do. I like providing meals for my family. ... To physically make something and put it on a plate and here you go, is nice.”

Learn to laugh at yourself 
“If you can’t laugh at yourself, trust me, there are plenty of people who will. I don’t think anyone is ever going to look and say, ‘Hey look, Denzel Washington! Did he shave his head?’ That’s not going to happen. And I’m comfortable with that. I think that's a much better place to be than saying, ‘Aren’t I fantastic?’”

You don’t have to retire
“My dad retired at 55. And the reason he retired was he wasn't enjoying what he was doing anymore. I love what I do.”

Never stop learning
“If you’re not learning and you’re not learning new things, you're dead. We're built to continue to learn, and if you continue to use that muscle that is the brain, it only gets better.”

Al Roker

Al Roker

TODAY's funny, fast-talking weatherman is 60, but don't expect him to slow down.

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.


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