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Never Too Old

I’d like to be a track star. How cool would it be to stand before a roaring crowd that has stood to its feet because I set a new record in high jump! And I could do it, you know—if the record for high jump stood at two feet. Unfortunately for me, the record is almost 2.5 meters—well over seven feet. Well, what if I get in a track meet with Senior Citizens—surely, a man in his mid-forties ought to come out well then, you would think. But, sure enough, if I were to enter a Master track competition—designed for men 40 and over, I would wind up competing against someone like Phil Fehlen. Never heard of Fehlen? Well, he witnessed history—he was there in 1956, Phil to witness the first 7-foot high jump, by Charlie Dumas. Forty-two years later, Phil made history himself: a world M60 high jump record of 5’-7 ¾”. And he did it on the Fourth of July, only a day after his 63rd birthday. How good was his jump of 5’7 ¾”? How good was the jump? The Age-Graded Tables at Mastertrack.com show that 1.72 meters at age 63 is equivalent to an open mark of 2.48 meters or 8’ 1 ½”! (MasterTrack.com).

Can you imagine doing a high jump in competition at 63 years of age?  And, setting a record for the “highest” jump in that age category?  I know folks that walk, jog, work out, and do various cardio exercises, but I have never met a Senior Adult high jumper. The most exercise many of us get in our Senior years is “side-stepping the issues and jumping to conclusions”!

Perhaps we cease trying to do physically challenging things over time because (at some point) we stopped trying to do physically challenging things!  Our reflexes, agility, energy, and muscle tone (or lack thereof) diminish when we do not persistently work to stay fit.  The end result is that when we do not use physical exertion of our bodies, we lose the ability to achieve athletic successes.

Just like our bodies, our minds and spiritual natures can mature with time or slowly atrophy.  We admire those who were still active in their senior years. Some of the greatest achievements recorded in history were accomplished by men and women in their golden years. The aging process does not have to be a season of regrets of what one can no longer do.  Rather, those years can be some of the very best in writing, painting, mentoring, sculpting, wood working, and the like.  Ideas are timeless and one’s mind is active long after the physical fitness has diminished.

The saddest folks are those that resign from life to do nothing and live with no dreams or hopes of things that they still would like to do.  We admire the person that lives life to the very fullest to the end.  Time is so precious and even more so as we know that years are limited.  That is not a cause to live in regret or grief.  Rather, it is a time to invest in the lives of others and to fulfill dreams that one always said, “If I had the time, I would….”  If you are in your Senior years, you may now have the time.  Use it wisely.

Henry Durbanville, in his book The Best Is Yet To Be wrote, “I feel so sorry for folks who don’t like to grow old…I revel in my years. They enrich me…I would not exchange…the abiding rest of soul, the measure of wisdom I have gained from the sweet and bitter and perplexing experiences of life; nor the confirmed faith I now have in the…love of God, for all the bright and uncertain hopes and tumultuous joys of youth. Indeed, I would not! These are the best years of my life…The way grows brighter; the birds sing sweeter; the winds blow softer; the sun shines more radiantly than ever before. I suppose ‘my outward man’ is perishing, but ‘my inward man’ is being joyously renewed day by day. (Copied).