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Age Is Just A Number

My blog post, “Insurmountable”, listed all the barriers we face in pursuit of our dreams.

For me, age is the most visible as I am coming up on the half century mark.

As the decades have passed, the list of things I believed I was no longer able to do grew longer.

After spending the day following inspirational stories of people living way past society’s idea of prime, yet living the life of their dreams, I have realized that age is not a real barrier, only a perceived one.

A grandmother saved her grandson by picking the car up that pinned him and pulling him to safety. She rebuffed all requests for an interview until a very persistent reporter finally asked the right question.

Why didn’t she want to be interviewed? She was hiding from the realization that if she had the power within her to lift a car, she really had no idea what she was capable of.

As Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

With more questioning the reporter revealed her regret of not going to college, the belief that she was 65 and thought her life, her chance was over.

Reminded that her life expectancy meant she had two more decades to live and she would become 70 whether she went back to school or not, she realized that it was her choice whether she would turn 70 as a college graduate or not. At 65, she pursued her lifelong dream at a time when most of us think it is too late.

We think it is too late for love. Yet, Forrest Lunsway married the women of his dreams on his 100th birthday and then danced the night away with her.

We think we are too old for best performances.

Thank goodness Christopher Plummer, oldest actor to win an Academy award, didn’t think so as he is still producing such riveting performances, as did 86-year-old actress Emmanuelle Riva and Academy Award nominee in Amour last year.

We think it is too late for new careers going back to school, trying something new. If you search the internet you will find college students, doctors, lawyers, CEO’s of billion dollar companies all over the age of 80.

Jean Forman who wanted to be a doctor for as long as she could remember went back to school and graduated at the age of 51 from USC School of Medicine, the oldest graduate in their 107-year-old history.

Carl Lindner is the Chairman of the American Financial Group at the age of 91. Twila Boston graduated from Utah State University last year with a Bachelor in American Studies at 98-years-old.

We think excitement is for the young.

Not Beulah Lewis, 98, who celebrated a relative’s 20th birthday by jumping out of an airplane and is a prime example of young at heart.

We think it is too late to begin again. My favorite coming of age story this year profiled Fauja Singh who ran his last race in February. Why was it international news? He was 101. His running career began when he was 86 after the tragic deaths of his wife and son. I had seen him profiled ten years ago when he officially became the oldest marathoner at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Soon after, Singh appeared in an Adidas ad with David Beckham and Muhammad Ali.

Every one of these people reached the pinnacle of their lives, achieved their wildest dreams, and met impossible goals long after it was expected or considered possible. If they had believed in an age barrier we would be missing the talents and the inspiration of these few who represent so many.

After reading these fascinating stories, I realized that I am just getting started. Age is no longer a barrier for me. I am inspired to go out there and live a full life knowing better moments are always possible as long as we keep pursuing them.

Read more posts by Darlene Butts. Darlene is a blogger for JenningsWire.

“Insurmountable”, By Darlene Butts.