We should especially toast the seniors of the world who asked: What’s age got to do with it? Then, they went out and broke stereotypical barriers about what it means to get older.
Take Ida Keeling, who at 104 just published her memoir, “Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down; Chasing Myself in the Race against Time.” After the loss at 66 of her two sons to drug-related murders, Ida fell into a deep depression. She may have stayed there had it not been for her daughter, who was worried and persuaded Ida to go for a run with her.
Running became a passion for Ida, leading to her first 5K race and eventually to holding the world record for the fastest time in the 60-meter dash for the 95-99 age group.
Think too of Simon Murray, who took on the South Pole in Antarctica. At 9,301 feet above sea level, the South Pole is a frozen desert with temperatures reaching -72 degrees Fahrenheit. Murray went alone at 63, trekking 1,200 km from the Hercules Inlet on the Zumberge Coast. It took him two months, and he became the oldest man to complete it unsupported.
Hockey player Gordie Howe not only broke several NHL records but retired at 52, way past the average age that hockey players stay in the league.
Then there’s Doris Self, who ventured into the predominant domain of young men – video games – late in life. At 86, she clenched the world record for video gaming at the Video Game Masters Tournament on Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings, which is seemingly the most difficult settings in the game.
American swimmer Pat Gallant-Charette was 66 and a grandmother when she became the oldest woman to swim the English Channel, while Jessica Tandy and Henry Fonda were both in their 80s when they won Oscars.
So as you make new year’s resolutions and are feeing like it’s too late or you’re too old to begin something, think of these inspirational people who overcame huge obstacles. Let their success lead you toward any dreams with renewed hope.
Maggie Lennon is a writer and photographer who writes about navigating the aging process. Check out her blog, “The Sensational Sixties. An everywoman’s guide to getting older.” Contact her at email@example.com.