When I reached 35, I started reassessing my life: asking myself where I am going, what I want to do, how to go about the change, etc. The mental process has taken me weeks, months, years and decades! It should not be hard, right? But I think, the mid-life crisis has that effect of “immobilizing” certain individuals, especially ones who lack focus or the support system to enable this new journey. Now five decades wiser, I feel it is not yet too late to make that change or take that leap of faith. And I feel…time is running out!
Aging is not only about wrinkles and skin tags; weak bones and white hair. In societies where age-shaming has become shamelessly a norm, older people have been regarded as an economic burden, grumpy blokes who have a lot of complaints; the reason for the Brexit, and a roost of unfair attributions that consequently put the cap on opportunities that should be available to them.
Across the globe, there are multitudes of older individuals who are breaking this notion of them being immobile; they are proving that they can conquer the world too. In a generation where equality should not be mere marketing buzzwords, age should not matter in pursuing dreams or raising a cause.
Below are just a few examples of our elders (I am featuring the “lolas”, the Filipino term for grandmothers) who are making a difference in the pursuit of their passion or advocacy.
The recent Taal Volcano eruption in the Philippines, spewing volcanic ash, has risen the demand for, as well as stifling access to face masks. To help augment the dwindling supply for face masks, the 61-year-old seamstress from Lipa, a town about 20 km from Taal sew batches of cloth masks that she gave away to her neighbors for free. Her act of kindness has helped save the lives of evacuees who had to endure the brunt of the health hazardous ash fall.
The 91-year-old Japanese amateur photographer has been taking comic selfies and serious photography, which she shares on her Instagram. A housewife, she took a course on photography when she was 72. In 2017, she debuted in the exhibit, “Asobokane?” (“Shall We Play?”) held at the Epson Imaging Gallery Epsite in Tokyo.
The 84-year-old app developer is also known as the oldest iPhone app developer. The Japanese programmer used to work in a bank. Upon retirement, she got her first personal computer at 58. Her intention to develop a mobile application birthed the Hinadan app, which was released in app stores in 2017. The same year, Wakamiya graced the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)event in San Jose, California; and was also appointed to government committee Jinsei Hyakunen Koso Kaigi, according to reports.
The 92-year-old English model started her career when she was 21. The 2015 Guinness Book of Record’s world’s oldest supermodel mentioned exercise routines like yoga and ballet stretches; diet of fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, no processed food, no smoking and facial skincare of rosewater and Nivea cream, according to her interview in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Based in Hong Kong, the 96-year-old model has started late in her career at 93. Since then, she has appeared in advertisements and for fashion majors like Gucci, Chanel, Valentino, Ports, Ellery, and others, according to a writeup.
The 103-year-old athlete from India started running in 2009 at the age of 93. She has already garnered gold medals from meets held in different countries such as Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, Spain, Poland and more. Currently, she is also coaching young athletes. To keep her in top shape, she follows a strict diet plan that includes “homemade soy milk and kefir, wheatgrass juice, nuts, lentils and chapatis made from sprouted wheat, ” according to an online article published in NPR.