Remember when George Bush, Sr., celebrated his 90th birthday by jumping out of an airplane? Lest you think that only the rich and famous attempt feats of this scale at such an advanced age, check out a few ordinary seniors who accomplished some pretty amazing things at a time in their lives when most of us are starting to slow down and take it a little easier:
While shopping for a bathing suit with her sister, Ernestine Shepherd didn’t like what she saw in the mirror and was motivated to start working out at age 56. By 71, Ernestine was named “Oldest Female Bodybuilder” by the Guinness Book of World Records. Ten years later, she still gets up at 2:30 a.m. to train and is now also a personal trainer herself.
Reach new heights.
Tamae Watanabe began mountain climbing at 28, scaling Mount McKinley, Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua. In 2012, at the age of 73, she reached the summit of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest!
In 1948, William Ivy Baldwin was the oldest tightrope walker in the world, crossing the South Boulder Canyon (a distance of 635 feet) at the age of 82. By that point in his life, he had done this same high wire walk 80 times!
Sing a new tune.
At 92, Australia’s “singing cowboy,” Smoky Dawson, was lauded as the oldest person to release a new album, which was a collection of his own original songs.
Three years shy of his 100th birthday, Dr. Heinz Wenderoth was the oldest person to earn a doctorate. It was definitely not an honorary degree, with the subject of his dissertation “Cell Biological Studies in the Morphology and Physiology of Primitive Marine Placozoons Trichoplax Adhaerens”.
You may not have the ability (or the nerve!) to climb a mountain or the desire to sit in a classroom again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve some pretty amazing feats of your own. Maybe it’s walking a 10k, selling one of your paintings or short stories, or starting a business. Bottom line, you’re never too old to push your limits, step out of your comfort zone and do something that astounds the people around you (and yourself)!