Aging Well: Gov. John Waihee says moderation, legacy, and family are important
Hawaii's fourth governor was John Waihee, who served from 1986 to 1994. His remarkable career includes many firsts, including a push to raise the profile of Native Hawaiians. Now in his 70s, he still leads an active and fulfilling life.
If you want to know Governor Waihee's secrets for aging well, look no further than how he lives his life. The 72-year-old's latest pastime centers around food. "That's probably my latest hobby, eating," he laughs.
He says moderation allows him to still enjoy his favorite dishes. "I have not stopped eating what I like!" he says.
That's the governor's first tip for living well: Find balance in your life, because "life should not only be about sticks but carrots."
We're in his office at Harbor Court, where there's a pool table in the elegant lobby. Waihee, who says he grew up around pool halls, also enjoys a game of billiards.
"I love shooting pool," he shares, so we stop for a game. He doesn't mind teaching strategy to this reporter. And finally, his lesson 'sinks' in when I get one in the pocket. That's his second tip: Share your knowledge.
As a politician, Waihee fought for Native Hawaiian political rights and cultural recognition. He looks back at the 70s and 80s as a pivotal time for the Hawaiian renaissance. "There's so much richness in that period," reflects Waihee.
He helped create the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, pushed the state to adopt Hawaiian as an official language, and was America's first Native Hawaiian governor. He's also proud of helping build Kapolei as Oahu's second city.
He says he would like, "if I ever have grandchildren, to be able to take them out and say, 'Look what Grandpa started.'" That's tip number three: Leave a legacy.
Today, Waihee works as a political and business consultant. His work habits have changed. He says he used to live in his office. But now, "I love coming to work, but I also look forward to going home at 5," he says.
His fourth tip is to have a personal life, or as Governor Waihee would tell anyone seeking his advice, "Enjoy life. They ought to do what makes them happy."