Gov. Jerry Brown marks a milestone birthday on Saturday, adding one more year to his record as California's oldest governor ever.
At age 80, Brown is in his final year in office and although he once imagined life as, say, President of the United States, he seems to be genuinely looking forward to a quieter life out of the spotlight.
People always want to know how folks will spend their time once they've retired, so I visited The Sequoias senior community in San Francisco in search of advice for the governor.
As she lingered over her lunch, Hilda Richards revealed that she is "100 plus," having reached the century mark last November. When told Brown was turning 80, she was a little judgmental.
"First of all, I like him," Richards said. "But he's really very young."
"Too young for you?" I asked. "I should say so," she said with a hearty laugh.
Her advice to the governor? Take care of yourself.
"In order to get older we run into little problems and we have to watch those," she noted. "It’s not that easy."
Her 87-year-old dining partner Bob Titlow said he thinks it's time for Brown to finally enjoy himself.
"I think that man has given his blood for the state of California and for the good of our people and I think he ought to have a wonderful, wonderful retirement," Titlow said.
Sequoias resident Richard Williams, 83, didn't mince words about aging up.
"No matter how gooda shape you’re in, once you’re 80 you are one old 'motha'," Williams chuckled. He said he stays young doing ceramics and hanging out with people younger than him.
"It brings you new ideas, keeps you up to date, let's you know what people are talking about, what people are interested in," Williams said. "With younger people you’re talking about current events and even the language they use is different."
Across the room, the Sequoias Choir was warming up for their weekly class. When asked if they had any advice for the soon-to-be-80 governor, several suggested singing.
"It’s joyful. It lifts our spirits. And my guess is our governor already sings," said Suzie Keet.
Choir director Sharman Duran agreed the benefits of singing are many, especially for seniors.
"It’s so healthy," Duran said. "You’re breathing. You have to think about your posture. And then you’re singing beautiful music. What could be better than that?"
When Brown was elected governor the first time in 1974, he became California's youngest governor ever and he spoke with futuristic phrases and ideas.
It helped earn him the moniker "Governor Moonbeam." Brown thought big but embraced an era of limits where "small is beautiful." He also made headlines by choosing a 1974 Dodge over a fancy government-issued car and sleeping on a mattress in a bachelor pad in downtown Sacramento.
Today he's more likely to be spotted driving an open-air all-terrain vehicle on his family ranch northwest of Sacramento in Colusa County, where he and his wife do things like make olive oil with olives blended from their two families' trees.
When asked by KQED in January if he'd run for another term if he could, Brown looked incredulous and said making olive oil seemed more interesting to him at this point in his life.
When Brown was elected to his first term 44 years ago, he was seen as a kind of "boy governor" who galavanted around with rock star Linda Rondstadt and often seemed distracted from his day job in Sacramento.
By most accounts, his return to the State Capitol in 2011 -- anchored by his marriage to Anne Gust Brown -- has been far more successful and focused in part on fixing mistakes he now thinks he made the first time around, most notably on criminal justice issues.
On this birthday weekend he'll set aside weighty issues like climate change, high-speed rail and contemplating whether to send California National Guard troops to the Mexico border as President Trump is asking.
His press secretary Evan Westrup says the governor hopes to take a bike ride, weather permitting, and will have a dinner Saturday night in Sacramento to be attended by family and friends, including one who was at his fifth birthday in 1943.
"Per tradition, the First Lady will be baking his mother's famous banana cake," Westrup added.