Stretching our minds, pushing our bodies to the limit and reaching new heights of spirituality are not exactly the ways most of us envision spending our time as we get older. We might think maybe it’s time to learn how to knit or take a few wood-working classes.
But for many, aging is really about beginning anew. Recharging their batteries in ways they never imagined. Blooming late in life has never looked this good.
Hobbies are a wonderful way to sit back and relax. But what if your hobby entails using a machete to clear thick jungle while hiking vertically up 2,000 feet in countries of political instability? Trekking through Madagascar and Uganda is now old hat for Stephen Kaufman—if it means he’ll get to see a family of gorillas and snap up 200 photographs in a matter of minutes.
What began as a fun hobby 20 years ago has now developed into adventure photography mania. He and his wife, Ann, have always visited zoos in any city they’ve traveled to. It was Ann’s desire to see the “big animals” in Africa that began a whole new chapter in their life together. From that point on, their travel plans began centering around observing wildlife all over the globe.
Whether he was in Antarctica searching for bears, Alaska looking for grizzly bears, or Manitoba on the hunt for polar bears, Stephen’s camera never stopped shooting. With orcas and humpback whales to see in British Columbia and beautiful snow monkeys near Mount Fuji in Nagano, Japan, Stephen is but a passport stamp away from another photographic adventure.
Wherever wild animals exist in the world, that’s where Stephen will be heading next.
How does a nice Jewish woman who grew up in Baghdad, Iraq decide to become a bat mitzvah in Houston at the age of 70?
Never mind that Blanche Roubein was raised orthodox, the most observant level of Judaism, which doesn’t allow girls to develop their Jewish education.
Moving from Iraq to Israel, New Jersey, Shreveport, Washington, DC, and finally to Houston didn’t make it any easier. But it was here in Houston that she no longer felt restricted and in a place where she was free to study the Torah and prepare for her bat mitzvah.
She was one of many adults who came together at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in April 2007 to complete what is traditionally reserved for young men and women turning 13. “The b’nai mitzvah ceremony really moved me. I studied for two years to prepare. It was so important for me to do this for myself.”
Nagindra Prashad didn’t run his first marathon until he was 50. Now with 61 marathons completed in the US and around the world, Nagindra has no plans to slow down at the age of 69. In fact, he still averages 5 marathons a year. The friendships he’s made with fellow runners, the camaraderie, and unbelievable sense of accomplishment he feels every time he steps across a finish line keep him coming back race after race.
Feeling a bit out of shape and wanting to help his son through grueling physical therapy after an automobile accident, Alan Anderson laced up his running shoes. While his son was jogging in the pool during his recovery, Alan decided to keep him company.
As his son progressed from the pool to a walker and eventually to walking on his own again, Alan took matters one step further—beginning to run 10 miles a week. Seeing the improvements in his own health drove Alan to sign up for his first marathon in 1996, at the age of 50. To date, he has completed 18 marathons and can’t imagine quitting.
Larry Lindeen knows just how Alan feels. Larry decided to run his first marathon at the age of 52. But why stop there? Today, he participates in a wide range of races—from 100 meters to ultra marathons (50 miles long!)—and at 68, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Whether it’s realizing a lifelong passion or discovering a new one later in life, being a late bloomer allows you to focus on and experience what’s important to you. No matter your age or experience level, it’s your time to bloom!