I dread getting old. I am actually afraid of my body getting frail and weak and – most important of all – the most horrifying thing is that I dread losing my mental acuity. Being senile and losing my mind is what frightens me most about getting old.
I see it on the movies all the time, and thats what I fear the future holds for me, getting old = getting senile. The movies depict old people more often than not sitting in an old folks home, WAITING TO DIE. That is what an old folks home is : a place for old people to literally wait to die.
I am only 31 years old this year. It is kinda stupid to worry about something so far off, right? You see, due to the modern lifestyle and chasing the dream, I think most of you guys and gals can relate to that: get a promotion, get the girl/guy, buy a house and live the time of your life. While pursuing those goals, I neglected the most important asset I have : My Health. I weight 105kg, grossly overweight, and also have high blood pressure and am constantly in pain over various aches in my body.
So right now, I am overweight, no girl in my life, have issues with my health, and I am in debt chasing the so called dream.
Something has to change right? I decided to research aging as I cannot continue the path I am continuing. I need to reprioritize and start taking better of myself. So I started going to a local gym nearby me, and I started seeing people of all age groups and was amazed that a 60 year old grandma had a set of 6 packs. I was blown out of my mind. We joined a group class together and she can push way beyond many people, even people who are fit and in their prime and she can go toe to toe with them, pushing the limits.
When I saw that, I started to realize age is a number. When I got the chance to know the awesome grandma, she was still doing awesome stuff outside the gym, too: hiking, climbing, travelling the world, having the ability to play with her grandkids and most important of all she is as sharp as anyone else I know. She can keep up with the current technologies and not one bit tripped up by them.
I know many grandmas who are in their 60’s who have ailing health and also their mental fitness is not up to par. So what is the difference between this awesome grandma and the others?
Taking care and getting fit, not just physically but also mentally. Once I started realizing this, I started researching online, and found many people who push their boundaries and redefine ageism. On the physical level, there is the Iron Nun Madonna Buder.
This Catholic Nun is amazing. She ran her first triathlon at the age of 48. If you don’t know what a triathlons is, here is the run down. First you swim for 400 meter in freezing water in the ocean. Once you get out of the water immediately you ride a bike for 12miles. Once that is done, you run for another 3.1miles. And each event must be completed in a certain time frame. If you miss the time frame for any of the events you’re disqualified. It is a gruelling race. The Iron Nun started at the age of 52 and since then she never looked back and she has completed more than 325 triathlons. At the 2005 Hawaii Ironman, at the age of 75, the Iron Nun became the oldest women ever to complete the race. At the 2006 Hawaii race, she again became the eldest competitor to finish the race.
Then there is Wang De Shun, a male model from China. What is so interesting about a male model? He became a fashion runway model at the age of 79. Google him, and you can see him in better shape than most people even in their 20’s.
Then there is Warren Buffet who, at the age of 86, still runs his company daily and is still active in the financial and business world. Everybody knows that is a tough world and you need to be mentally sharp to stay on top. And yet, at the age of 86, he still can keep his wits about him, building a better, bigger business that most people can only dream of. He hasn’t lost an ounce of his mental acuity – he still has it. Another is Bob Proctor, he is still active touring the world giving motivational speeches and retreats in his 80’s. Can you imagine your in your 80’s, flying around the world, actively managing your business, giving talks that sometimes last for 3-4 days, non stop? Go ahead at www.proctorgallagherinstitute.com to check his schedule.
You might be thinking these are the exceptions, not the norms,. They are the outliers. I think not. In fact more and more people, if they take good care of their health, can have a full and active life even in their 80’s. It is time to redefine ageing. It is time to relook at what it means to grow old. Do you want to wait to die? Or do you want to still continue to find that life has still so much to offer?
I am choosing to redefine ageing and starting to take care of my health. I hope many of you do, too, to change your perception of getting old and see that life is not over yet. It has just begun.
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Iron Nun :
Male Model : Wang Deshun