The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions; you carve yourself into a given shape. Then the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge. —Howard Thurman
Today is my birthday. I’m 45 years old.
Something about that number is appealing to me. It’s not the age of a young ‘un. And it’s not the age of a mummy either.
Even though I haven’t started receiving advertisements in the mail from the AARP (yet), I am old enough to know how easy it is to get stuck, or to just coast through life, or to quit changing, learning, and growing.
Howard Thurman is on to something… the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge.
Speaking of God’s people planted in God’s House, Scripture says:
They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. —Psalm 92.14
Like trees that stay healthy and fruitful. Like people who keep discovering the green growing edge. That’s the challenge.
And while there are plenty of bad examples of aging, there are also many inspiring ones…
Henry Ford Was 45 when the Ford T came out.
Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote “The Hunger Games.”
Julia Child published her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” when she was 49.
Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.
Morgan Freeman landed his first major movie role at 52.
Dr. Seuss was 54 when he wrote “The Cat in the Hat.”
At 55, Pablo Picasso completed his masterpiece, “Guernica.”
Sony chairman Akio Morita was 58 when he introduced the Sony Walkman—an idea no one seemed to like at the time.
J.R.R. Tolkien published the ﬁrst volume of his fantasy series, “Lord of the Rings” when he was 62.
At 66, Noah Webster completed his monumental “American Dictionary of the English Language.”
Canadian Ed Whitlock, at 69, became the oldest person to run a standard marathon in under three hours (2:52:47).
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? —Satchel Paige
At 71, Katsusuke Yanagisawa—a retired Japanese schoolteacher—became the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest.
Louise Bourgeois wasn’t featured in the Museum of Modern Art until she was 71.
Margaret Ringenberg ﬂew around the world when she was 72.
At 75, cancer survivor Barbara Hillary became one of the oldest people—and the ﬁrst black woman—to reach the North Pole.
Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.
Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President of South Africa.
At 77, John Glenn became the oldest person to go into space.
Christine Brown of Laguna Hills, CA, ﬂew to China and climbed the Great Wall when she was 80.
At 81, Bill Painter became the oldest person to reach the 14,411-foot summit of Mt. Rainier.
Comedian George Burns performed in Schenectady, NY, when he was 94—some 63 years after his ﬁrst performance there.
At 95, Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college diploma.
When Harry Bernstein was 96, he published his ﬁrst book, “The Invisible Wall,” three years after he started writing to cope with loneliness after his wife of 70 years, Ruby, passed away.
* * * *
Maybe it’s time for me to write a new / revised / inspired / challenging list of things I still want to accomplish.
Maybe you need to write one too.
You start dying slowly if you do not travel, if you do not read, if you do not listen to the sounds of life… You start dying slowly if you become a slave of your habits, walking everyday on the same paths… You start dying slowly if you avoid to feel passion and their turbulent emotions; those which make your eyes glisten and your heart beat fast. —Pablo Neruda