Being president in the United States is the highest office an individual can hold. It comes with plenty of trust and expectations from the general public, plenty of state secrets, and, if former President Barack Obama is anything to go by, plenty of grey hairs.
But what does one do after being president? Go back to being a governor or senator? Find any other mundane 9-5 job?
This was a question former President Jimmy Carter pondered in 1981 when his single term as president ended. At the time, he was reminded by friends he could live to be 80-years-old, but just last week, at the tender age of 94, Carter became the oldest living former president in the U.S., according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
On Friday, March 22, Carter surpassed the previous oldest living president George H.W. Bush, who passed away at the age of 94-years-old and 171 days in November last year. He also holds the record for the longest living president since the end of his presidential term at 38 years.
Despite it being a notable milestone for Carter and those closest to him, the Carter Presidential Library had no plans to celebrate the occasion, although the Carter Center did offer up a few words of congratulations on reaching the milestone.
We join our fellow Americans in congratulating and wishing President Carter the very best. His continues to be a life clearly well-lived, a true Point of Light.https://t.co/hOpqBNSYbb
— Bush Foundation (@Bush41) March 22, 2019
“We at the Carter Center sure are rooting for him and are grateful for his long life of service that has benefited millions of the world’s poorest people,” they said in a statement.
Given that Carter’s presidency ended almost four decades ago, he has had plenty of time to fill with finding something to keep him busy.
Luckily, he has found plenty to do in that time. Carter has thrown himself into philanthropy since stepping out of the Oval Office, establishing the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization that works to bring peace around the world by both resolving and preventing conflict.
He has traveled to countries in need of aid to build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and his tireless work for others won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Carter has also penned several books since the end of his presidency, releasing the most recent one, Faith: A Journey For All, just last year.
Over two decades ago, Carter wrote about getting old and pondered what it would mean if he weren’t aging.
“What could possibly be good about growing old? The most obvious answer, of course, is to consider the alternative to aging. But there are plenty of other good answers — many based on our personal experiences and observations.”
Given the age of the four currently living former presidents and incumbent President Donald Trump, Carter will certainly be holding onto his new title for a while, with more than 20 years on the oldest among them.