Mr. Carter turned 80 Friday, and reflected on his years in the White House and his charitable and diplomatic missions since then.
The former president said he's learned a good deal over the past eight decades. No matter how busy you are, "there is really always time to expand your life — to extend your heart and mind."
Rich sounds of piano music filled the lobby of the Carter Center Friday as pianist Roger Williams performed for the former president's birthday.
It was Williams' 80th birthday, too, and he planned to play for 13½ hours, playing a gold-colored grand piano that maker Steinway created for the event before an audience of about 100.
Other events for Carter's birthday included a play on the life of a day laborer who lived on the Carter farm and a documentary on the Carter Center's work.
In addition to his public commitments in fighting foreign diseases and building homes for Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Carter said he also enjoys writing, painting, furniture-making and mountain-climbing.
Mr. Carter notes he was lucky to leave the White House at the age of 56, leaving him time to pursue other projects.