In the twilight years of human life, we often see the elderly succumbing to fragile bodies, weak wills, and spiritual distress. However, there are those who seem to have found the secret to life, who live long and joyously until the end of their days. They don’t consider these later years to be the end of their lives. Rather, they simply see the time as another stage in their lives. They use the time wisely to realize unfulfilled dreams, learn something new and to accomplish far more than even those younger than they can hope to achieve!
My last few pieces have been about philanthropy and ways in which people are helping to improve the lives of others in a financial sense. Today I wanted to highlight people who are improving our lives by serving as role models for helping us all to live our best lives. These people are not afraid to try something new and continue to find purpose in their existence regardless of age. They serve as an inspiration for all of us to do the same. In pursuing our best life on the personal front, we can become conditioned to improve our lives on all fronts. I hope that attitude spills over into strengthened social bonds and acceptance of others. We need that now more than ever in our culturally integrated world.
Tao Porchon-Lynch (Yoga Teacher/Ballroom Dancer, Age 97)
Tao is a 97-year old Master Yoga instructor who was recognized as the World’s Oldest Yoga teacher by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 (when she was a young 94). In addition to teaching eight yoga classes weekly, she only continues to better herself by exploring other passions. She started ballroom dancing at 90 years old and she now competes regularly. In fact, she is currently preparing to head to France for a world ballroom dancing competition. How does she do this you may ask? How does a woman who marched with the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and helped General Charles De Gaulle, retain the energy to keep living life to its fullest? “Don’t put it off till tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes” she says.
Fauja Singh (Long Distance Runner, Age 102)
In the wake of his wife and children’s deaths when he was in his late 80s, Fauja was lost, condemned to overwhelming heartache. Then he started running. Before his unfortunate demise a couple years ago, he became the world’s oldest man to complete a marathon at 100 years old. When he was 93 years old, he completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon with an impressive 5 hours and forty minutes time. When most are lying in a hospice, Fauja is running around the world. He cites the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco for his physical health and clear mental acuity, although admits to one vice: personal shopping.
George ‘Banana’ Blair (Extreme Water Skier, Age 92)
Gaining his nickname due to a particular inclination for bananas, George is a water skier of the highest caliber despite his age. Getting up on the water with just his bare feet (no skis needed), he tells the driver to shift gears to breakneck speeds, and then proceeds to put the tow rope in his mouth and hangs on with his teeth. Don’t believe me? See for yourself just above. Perhaps it’s the bananas or maybe it’s the big smile you can see on his face, but George Blair looks like he had old age all figured out.
There is no reason for inspiration, passion, and ambition to deteriorate with age. We can take charge of our lives and do what we love no matter how old or how young we are, and the above exemplary individuals prove it. I hereby challenge you to live a life more abundant!
P.S. Here’s another senior making the most of life. Patty, the 79 year old salsa dancer, and her partner, Nico, put on an amazing show on Britain’s Got Talent. Check it out!