Like so many of you, last week I came across video of 86 year old gymnast old Johanna Quaas performing last month at the Cottbus World Cup in Germany. What an inspiration, and on so many levels. A lot of people look at her and think ‘that’s pretty good for 86′, and that’s true! But I marvel at and admire the passion she feels for her sport; the drive that compels her to not only stay involved in gymnastics, but to live it.
She’s not alone. My friend Kim forwarded me an article about a world-class runner named Kathy Martin. She competes against 20 and 30 year old runners, holds nine American and two world records and just turned 60! Of running she says, “I hope I do this until the day I die. I want to be all used up, just a wisp of dust left.”
Being passionate can fill us with the spirit of youth. And it’s not just about sports. It’s the way I feel about performing. It’s the way my business partner Gail feels about strategic marketing. It’s the way my son feels about food. I know that when I have something to be excited about, my general outlook and disposition improves. Our passions and interests are like badges we wear through our lives and we don’t need to shed them as we get older!!! Throughout every stage in life we need something that gets the blood flowing, the adrenaline pumping, something that kick starts the heart.
But no matter our age, there is time to discover a passion and let ourselves be swept up in it. Johanna didn’t even get her start in gymnastics until she was 30 years old! Kathy didn’t enter her first race until her late fifties. By those ages, so many of us are set in our ways or too busy to think about adding another layer to our days. But there is power in reinvention. And freedom in discovering new sides of our character. And yes, both of these women might have years of training, amazing muscle tone and good genes for all we know. But that’s not why they are better athletes at their ages than some people are in their youth. It’s because they each discovered something that makes them feel alive, brings them joy and satisfaction. Just remember to keep thinking that the best things are still ahead of you