Stop Letting Your Age Define You

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World’s oldest marathoner at 101

I’ve always been kind of hyper-focused on age. I remember turning 23 and thinking it sounded “so old.” Yeah right. Actually, I was really worried about the fact that I took an extra year to finish college, thinking everyone else would “get ahead.” I didn’t get an internship in DC until I was 24 and I thought that made me an absolutely ancient intern.

Now that I’ve been in the workforce professional for six years — having built directly upon the internship I did back in 2006, I realize how silly it was that I worried about age. The older I get, the younger I realize I was and actually, am.  

As and “old” intern when I first arrived in DC:

I think a lot of people focus on age as something that holds them back. I’m “too old” to go back to school. I’m “too old” to try a new career. I’m “too old” to go to a dance party, do the limbo, fill in the blank.

Excuses. I love meeting older people who just LIVE life paying no attention to their age. I’ve been 75-year-olds that go to dances, book club, study new subjects. I had an 82-year-old great aunt that point blank asked me, “Why would I ever be bored? There’s so much to do!”  


When I heard that the oldest marathoner was running his last race at age 101, I was…shocked. Especially when I heard he ran his first marathon (yes, FULL marathon!) at the age of 89. Obviously, this guy is a little bit of a freak of nature but that doesn’t change the moral of the story. It’s said this guy started running to deal with the sadness over losing his wife and son. Then, it became the thing that made him LIVE.

What aren’t you doing yet that will add so much to your life?

Rose, 87-year-old college student

Then there’s Rose, the 87-year-old college student. Can you imagine if you were sitting next to an 87-year-old in your college English class? But, she didn’t let the weird looks or questions get her down and at graduation, she said this in a speech:

We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.

You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.

If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.

I love it, don’t you? I wish more people would embrace the charms and opportunities and wonderfulness of life without letting age or circumstance dictate them. People are often worried about “feeling stupid” or starting over. Let it go! 

Not too old to jump rope: 


Is it a whimsical, optimistic way to look at life? YES. We’d all be better off if we looked at life this way. Stop focusing on the negative things that have brought you down or stolen your opportunities.  You can’t change the past, you can only change the future. You never know who you will meet along the way, how someone will make your life better, how taking a chance will reveal new parts of life when you thought nothing could surprise or thrill you. 

I am going to be 85 going to dances, book club, running 5ks (body ability provided!), laughing, maybe writing this blog :)  

What has age stopped you from doing? Do you ever think about “how old” you are? Let’s stop with the ageism against ourselves!

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