Julia Hawkins took up running when she was a hundred years old.
We have come to believe the stereotype of aging—growing older equals decline, loss of function, decrepitude, and loss of purpose.
Creativity will be the first to suffer in old age, we assert.
“Not so fast,” says Dr. John Goodenough, who at 94, is leading a team of engineers in Texas to develop a new solid-state battery. In 1980, when he was 58, he was the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery.
The Friday afternoon when I arrived
they made me wait
‘till ten past five.
“Doctor is quite busy, see? Relax. Sit down. He knows you’re here. He knows he’s late.”
Never get rid of your bicycle.
Especially not when you retire. (It’s anyway not a good idea to retire.) Keep your pedal bike at hand, well after you turn 60, or 70, or 80, or 90 and even long after you turn a hundred.
This is what Robert Marchand did, a 105-year-old Parisian. He is the present world-record holder for the longest distance cycled in one hour by a 100+-year-old: 26,92 km. (Record set in January 2014.) In January 2017, aged 105, he “slowed down” to 22,5 km in one hour.
Wouldn’t that be incredible? To not age. How many of us aren’t chasing the fountain of youth? Let’s be honest. We faithfully take hands full of supplements, get injections, subject ourselves to tweaking surgeries, to “tighten” or “re-contour” our bodies—some minor, some major. Only to discover, it’s all an elusive endeavor. Through the ages this has been the case, mankind searching for longevity.
Mr. Don Pellmann, who had turned 100 in August 2015, set five world records a month later. He became the world’s fastest centenarian. He ran the 100-meter dash in under 27 seconds at the San Diego masters Olympics, shaving three seconds off the previous record by the now 105-year old Hidekichi Miyazaki.
It was a blistering hot day (37 Celsius) and Mr. Pellmann expressed disappointment with his performance of the day: he had apparently “botched” the pole vault event, in spite of his five records. He was unsuccessful to clear the pole in the three tries allowed. “I thought I was in better shape,” he lamented.
It is impossible to look at a newborn baby, and not be filled with wonderment. I have yet to come across a person—young or old—whose face won’t break into a smile upon seeing or holding a (sleeping) baby. It can be any baby for that matter—they fill us with longing of when we were young and carefree ourselves, and is living proof of new beginnings, of hope and potential.
We celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday yesterday. She was a fragile little person at birth, jaundiced, light years removed from the robust little girl in her party dress who was visiting us. She now ran through the house, exhilarated, laughing and bubbling and gesturing. For the past several months she has literally been mastering new skills every few minutes. Yesterday was a joyful reminder for us all of the endless possibilities that surround us.
As children we yearned to be “old enough.” We were so desperate to be grown-up enough, in order to go do things. I can recall how I argued my case with Mother to be allowed to go buy bread and milk at the corner café for the first time.
Soon after that accomplishment, I pushed for permission to cycle to school on my own. This hankering did not diminish as a teenager, as I pestered my parents long before it was time for my driver’s licence.