Tell the truth. Have you ever said, ‘I’m too old to do that’? Well, you’re not alone. But let me tell you now, you are never too old!
But where does it stem from? Why do we think after a certain age – a young age at that, maybe 30 or 40 – that we are too old to learn something new or start something from the beginning?
We seem to be trained from a young age that we must have our entire lives planned out in our early 20s / 30s. But that’s only a quarter of our lives. What do we do for the rest of our lives? Sit and wait for it to end?
Yes, there are certain things we may have missed the boat on. For instance, a 74-year-old may be past the age of fertility (although there have been miracle stories!). And after a certain age, you won’t get away with throwing tantrums anymore, that’s for sure.
A friend recently started learning the piano in his 40’s, after asking me if I thought he was too old, and I responded with ‘do you still have fingers?’ (yes, I’m a sarcastic delight!).
My mum didn’t travel much until the age of 65. In the last decade, she has travelled from Ireland to Vegas, France, Dubai, Singapore, Chicago, Malaysia, Thailand, New York, just to name a few. And she’s certainly not done yet at the age of 76!
So listen to me right now. You are NEVER too old. If you are still breathing, you can still learn, you can still love, and you can still live.
Table of Contents
If I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe these 8 inspiring seniors will show you that you are never too old.
1. Anne Lorimer
At the age of 86, Anne Lorimer became the oldest women to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 5,895 metres / 19,340 feet.
As if this wasn’t enough, when Anne found out that two others had gone and broken her record, she set off on the 9 day hike up Kilimanjaro again at the age of 89. In order to gain the world record, she had to climb the mountain unassisted and without any oxygen aid. She reached the summit in July 2019 and is currently the world record holder for the oldest person to summit the mountain.
Did I mention that shortly prior to her climb, she broke some ribs which made it even more difficult to breath at such a high altitude?
2. Nola Ochs
Nola was the oldest college graduate in history, graduating from the Fort Hayes State University at the age of 95 in May 2007.
After graduating, she was offered her dream job telling inspiring stories of her journey on a cruise ship.
Before she passed away in 2016 at the age of 105, Nola was interviewed on the Growing Bolder radio show. She said the key is to stop counting your age because people associate retirement age with sitting down and doing nothing. She said stop counting your age but never stop celebrating your birthday. This I can get on board with!
3. Harry Bernstein
Harry Bernstein was 93 when he started writing his first book, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers. He was 96 when it was first published in 2007. He had been married for 67 years and the loneliness he endured after losing his wife was his drive for writing the book.
He went on to publish a further three books; The Dream (2008), The Golden Willow (2009) and What Happened to Rose (2012 – posthumously).
4. Barbara Hillary
Barbara Hillary was the first African American woman to reach both poles, the North Pole at the age of 75 and the South Pole just before the age of 80.
If that wasn’t inspiring enough, Barbara had survived cancer, not once, but twice prior to her treks.
5. Joan MacDonald
Joan was diagnosed with high blood pressure and other health issues at 70 years of age. Her daughter is a personal trainer and encouraged her mother to get active.
Now 74, Joan has lost 60lbs and is a fitness fanatic. She even has over 700,000 followers on her Train With Joan Instagram account!
6. Anna Mary Robertson
Otherwise known as Grandma Moses, Anna Mary Robertson didn’t begin painting until she was 78. Shortly afterwards, a collector spotted her paintings through a window in a pharmacy and bought them all. She went on to exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and further abroad.
If that wasn’t enough, Anna went on to write her autobiography, My Life History, which was published when she was 92.
7. Paul Siromoni
Paul Siromoni began to write his thesis shortly after he retired. It took him three years to complete and he was awarded his doctorate in 2017 at the age of 90. He had to write six papers, attend various seminars, and take three long exams in order to complete his Ph.D.
Hilde visits her family in the UAE each year and in 2018, having watched countless skydivers over the years, she decided to tick the very last thing off her bucket list and take to the skies at the age of 82.
In her emotional video after she landed, Hilde said it was an amazing experience.
She is definitely my bad-ass inspiration!
Are you convinced yet?
I hope this has inspired you to visit that country, write that book, learn a new language, or study a new course.
You are the author of your life story and if the above stories have taught us anything, you are never too old.
In the words of Nola Ochs, “Our education is never complete”.