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.”

  • Slideshow Photos

    Al Roker

    Al Roker

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

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    Now here's the weather in your neck of the woods -

    Al Roker, seen here reporting the weather on TODAY on Jan. 16, 2014, was born in Queens, New York on Aug. 20, 1954. His easygoing manner and quick wit have made him a favorite of many, no matter the forecast.

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    What's cooking? -

    Al Roker, a self-professed grilling fanatic, joins chef Giada De Laurentiis and TODAY anchor Tamron Hall to cook on TODAY on July 14, 2014.

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    Matt and Al learn to luge -

    Roker isn't afraid to clown around for a good laugh. Here's Matt and Al in star-spangled spandex before hitting the double luge in honor of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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    Mister Mayor -

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes a selfie with Roker during the official re-opening of the TODAY plaza on Feb. 24, 2014.

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    Snazzy dresser -

    Roker greets fans on the TODAY plaza while wearing his stylin' plaid jacket on June 19, 2014.

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    All smiles and laughs -

    Actor Aaron Paul and Roker report the weather on TODAY on June 13, 2014. Roker joked to the former "Breaking Bad" star that the sunshine marker on the weather map near New Mexico must have "got some of Walter White's stuff," cracking the actor up.

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    O Christmas tree -

    Roker, Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales discuss the arrival of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Nov. 8, 2013.

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    I pity da fool -

    Hoda Kotb as Betty Rubble and Kathie Lee Gifford as Wilma Flintstone join Roker, dressed as B.A. Baracus from "The A-Team," on TODAY's Halloween show in 2013.

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    Row, row, row your boat -

    Roker, Willie Geist and Nick Offerman appear on TODAY on Oct. 1, 2013.

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    Spring training -

    Roker bobbles a catch before the Yankees' spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Tampa, Florida on March 11, 2013.

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    Family man -

    Roker, wife Deborah Roberts and daughter Leila attend "Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet" Broadway opening night at The Richard Rogers Theater on Sept. 19, 2013 in New York.

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    Pucker up -

    Roker and Willie Geist share a smooch on TODAY on Feb. 7, 2013 while testing flavors of lip balm.

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    Gangnam style! -

    Singer PSY performs on TODAY Sept. 14, 2012 while Roker, Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie act as backup dancers.

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    My people! -

    Roker greets the crowd prior to Kenny Chesney's concert on TODAY on June 22, 2012.

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    I've had the time of my life -

    Actor Ryan Gosling lifts Roker "Dirty Dancing" style on July 20, 2011.

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    Lighting the tree -

    Roker and singer Tony Bennett at the Rockefeller Center tree lighting in New York on Dec. 3, 2008.

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    Gingerbread man -

    Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Roker dress up for TODAY's annual Halloween show on Oct. 31, 2008.

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    Booking it -

    Roker tapes a segment of Al’s Book Club for Kids on May 8, 2007.

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    Wake up with Al -

    Roker pretends to sleep during a segment on TODAY in April 2013. Roker was promoting his 'Wake Up With Al' contest, where he visited viewers' homes and woke up with them.

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    Able to leap tall buildings... -

    Roker dressed up as Superman (with Natalie Morales as Justin Bieber and Tamron Hall as President Barack Obama) for the 2010 TODAY Halloween show.

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    Remembering Katrina -

    Roker and Matt Lauer anchor TODAY live from New Orleans on the 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 27, 2010.

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    Hat man -

    Roker, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer stand outside the studio during a taping of TODAY.

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    Going places -

    In 1997, Roker hosted an eight-week travel series called "Going Places." The show featured a series of whirlwind jaunts to some of the world's most popular vacation spots.

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