I recently heard someone say, “If I could live my life over again, I would do it all differently”. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. In fact, most of us have said it many times before. But I think the real question is, what am I GOING to do?
Almost every week I hear someone say, “I’m too old for that”. It could be CrossFit, it could be Mud Runs, it could be starting a new career or business or it could be changing my hair color. Seriously, I’m too old to dye my hair? Bah! Last week my cousin asked if she is too old to try kite-boarding (she is younger than me)! But here is the thing: I am 46 years old and I will be 47 in September. My grandmother is 99 years old and she will be 100 years old in January of 2017. That means that if I live to be as old as her, I still have more than the entire life I have already lived left to live.
I think I have lived a very full life. I went to college, got married, had 3 kids, and I’m getting ready for my oldest to go to college. I have traveled some, I have lived a few different places, I have met some of the most awesome people in the world, I have taken care of my body and my mind, I have opened my own business, and I have done a few of the things on my bucket list. Yes, there is a LOT more I would like to do, but when I think of all that I have learned and all that I have done, it seems like it would be impossible to redo all of that. Yet, I still have an entire lifetime left to live – and I have done so much I can’t even remember a lot of it!
Knowing what I know about all that I have done in my life, is it too late to start anything? It takes 10 years to become a doctor – but I would still have 30-40 years to practice as a doctor depending on how well my mind and body are functioning. I started getting in good shape for the first time in my life around age 40. Now I am in the top 5% of the fittest women on Earth in my age group… and I hope to improve a whole lot more. I opened my own business for the first time in a brand new career and completely started over at 44 years old.
If you want to see an even more incredible story of success late in life, check out the story of Ernestine Shepherd here. She is a body builder who started exercising in her 50’s and she is now one of the fittest women on Earth for her age! This is a picture of Ernestine on her 80th birthday. Many of us would give our right arm to look that good at age 40, much less age 80! The best part is that she is still living her dream – he mind is clear and she is taking great care of herself and she is inspiring others everywhere to do the same.
I see men and women in my gym every day who amaze me. I have Allan Brown, who on his 50th birthday broke the gym record for the heaviest weighted pull-up at 115lbs – far exceeding the weight of any of the young guys we have here. I have Sharon Hughes, who at 55 joined CrossFit and ran her first Tough Mudder – a 13 mile mud run! I have Beth Schneider who is an amazing bodybuilder at 56 years old and now is one of our top CrossFit Competitors. You should expect to see her at the CrossFit Games very soon! I have John Dwyer who is about to turn 60 and looks (and sometimes acts) like a young stud! I have Rick Dambrogi who is about to turn 70 and just had a difficult hand surgery but who looks and lifts weights like he is getting ready for the CrossFit Games himself. Finally, we have our fearless leader, John Mariotti, who will turn 60 years old this coming October and who sets the standard for the saying “age is just a number”. John made it to his first CrossFit Games at 57 years old and missed it this year by the skin of his teeth (even with a nagging and painful hand injury). You can definitely look for him going to the CrossFit Games next year!
One of my clients recently said, don’t tell people how old I am too much – it reminds me that I don’t have a lot of time left. But here is the thing… you could die tomorrow. Lots of people are going to. You can’t live your life worrying about how long you have to live. You just have to go outside and LIVE! So, if you look at your life right now and know that you have a possible 30-50+ years ahead of you, what do you want to do with it? I can tell you, if I could do it all over, I would tell my younger self to get off the damn couch and turn the tv off and stop watching other people live exciting lives and start living an exciting life myself! You only get one glorious life… And as someone once said, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely with a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – ‘WOW, What a Ride!’”