“I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”– Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, author and served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England.
He is long dead but his saying has rang through the years influencing a lot, not less these, inspiring old people who proved that they can be as young as they want to be.
Perhaps you will find the word “inspiring” too anticlimactic. After all, you have done much, seen much, erred much, fallen much, yet have remained standing and done quite well after all these years. “Do I still need an inspiration?” you might ask.
We all do. We all need to be reminded that others are in a worse shape than we are; that others face the same struggles we do – probably even worse.
We all need to be reminded that life, even to elderly people, is not static. It is dynamic and that dynamism doesn’t come from outside but deep within. Sadly a lot of old people have forgotten this and need to be fired up again and keep running until they ran out of gas.
These six elderly people may do just that. They have defied the odds; they withstood their tests of fire, the ravages of time and made their marks in history.
They are very inspiring, indeed.
1. Faujah Singh
Faujah is an Indian-born Brit who had been an amateur runner in his younger days. He gave it up when India and Pakistan partitioned.
To get over his grief over the death of his wife in 1992 and his son in 1994, he went back to running.
Since then he has become the world record holder in his age bracket and has appeared with David Beckham and Muhammad Ali in 2004 in an Adidas commercial.
In 2013, at age 101, he completed the Hong Kong 6.25 kilometer marathon in one hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.
2. Desiline Victor
Desiline Victor joined Michelle Obama during the President’s State of the Union address.
How did she earn the honor?
By waiting in line for several hours to vote at her Florida polling station during the 2012 election.
While others returned home after several hours of wait, Desiline, 102 years, stayed,
quietly and patiently sitting on her wheelchair.
Desiline was born in Haiti and came to the U.S. as a farm worker. She became a citizen
in 2005, and voted the first time in 2008.
For her patience, a bill was passed, the “Desiline’s Free and Fair Democracy Act,” to ease the voting process for everyone.
3. Min Bahadur Sherchan
On May 25, 2008, Sherchan became the oldest climber to reach 8,850 meters of Mt. Everest.
The feat itself was like a piece of cake for this Nepalese climber compared to the difficulties he hurdled to make the climb.
First his doctors told him that he cannot climb to more than 3,000 meters. He climbed 6,000. He badgered the Chinese and the South Koreans for financing. When he got it the Nepalese government did not give him the permit to climb unless he has a Sherpa guide. On the eve of the climb, his guide got sick.
Finally they gave him the permit to go ahead – probably to get him off their backs.
In the 2010 edition of the Book of Guinness World Records, Sherchan was given that recognition.
4. Jiro Ono
Where would President Barak Obama eat sushi in Japan?
Of course, in Sukibayashi Jiro, owned by no other than Jiro Ono, 87 years old, the greatest sushi chef ever, and the Guinness World Record title holder for being the oldest living chef.
Ono was born in present-day Hamamatsu (formerly Tenryu), in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. He started working in a local restaurant at age 7. Later, he moved to Tokyo to study as an apprentice, becoming qualified as sushi chef in 1951.
In 1965, he opened the Sukibayashi Jiro, a Michelin 3-star restaurant, where you may bump into Shinzo Abe should you happen to go to lunch at the same time.
5. Ida Keeling
It is the natural tendency for people, when tragedy strikes, to withdraw and mope as expressions of self-denial.
Faujah Singh ran.
So did Ida when her husband died when she was 42 and both her sons, Charles and Donald, died due to drug abuse in 1979 and 1981, respectively.
At age 67, she started running to ease her pain. Since then, she has broken a lot of world records in her age category.
In 2011, at age 95, Keeling set the world record in her age group for running 60 meters in 29.86 seconds in a track in Manhattan where she lives.
In 2012, she set another record at the USATF Eastern Regional Conference Championship.
In 2014, Keeling set another record at the 2014 Gay Games by running the 100 –meter dash in 59.80 seconds. She was already 99 years old.
6. Olive Riley
You think you are too old to write, much more to blog?
Not Olive. This Australian woman started her blog, The Life of Riley, in February 2007 when she was already 107 years old.
Her final post was written in nursing home in Woy Woy, New South Wales, on June 26, 2008. Two weeks later, she died at the age of 108.
During her short time as a blogger, she posted 70 articles as well s several video posts on You Tube.
In 2005, filmmaker Michael Rubbo made a documentary film about her titled All About Olive.
All the old people above set on a course that put them on a date with history and fame, either due to personal tragedy or the desire to accomplish something significant; to stand out above the rest.
Only a very few of us will go through what Faujah, or Ida, or Min Bahadur went through, but nothing is stopping us from becoming another Olive or Jiro.
Will you be the next?
Please share to give inspiration to an elderly who may be going through some very tough times in his/her life.