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January 11, 2017
In a society obsessed with youth, the idea of celebrating age and growing older has become increasingly unfavorable. We stereotype age and claim decline and dissatisfaction as inevitable byproducts of growing older. The process of aging, however, doesn’t have to be about the deterioration of our minds and bodies. Growing older should be an opportunity to sharpen our brains and expand our creativity. Mark Twain said it best; “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Several seniors across the nation are proving that age is JUST a number. Among the standout seniors are: Willie Murphy, 77-year-old competitive power lifter and Tao Porchon-Lynch, 96-year-old yoga teacher. These two individuals live their lives to the absolute fullest and push the limit every day. Their strength and willpower allow them to achieve goals that most healthy, capable people are unable toaccomplish.
Willie Murphy deadlifted 215 pounds at the World National Powerlifting Federation championships. Her motto? “I never use the words ‘I can’t,’ I simply say ‘I will try.'” This incredibly strong woman shocks onlookers when she arrives at her local YMCA and lifts twice as much as her fellow gym goers. Willie prides herself on the ability to push her car if its broken or shovel her driveway it snows; her strength allows her to be completely independent.
Tao Porchon-Lynch is the world’s oldest yoga teacher but you’d never know it. At 96 years old, Tao remains remarkably active. Besides traveling across the northeast to teach yoga classes, Tao participates in ballroom competitions (a hobby she began at the age of 87!). Tao can attribute many of her life successes to a positive mind. Her philosophy is, “There is nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us.” Tao is an incredible inspiration to those who may think “age” is preventing them from being the best possible versions of themselves.
If Willie Murphy and Tao Porchon-Lynch are any indication, age is just a number. Age should never determine the state of our health and it should never determine our caliber of life. Rather, the mind holds all the power; researchers at the University College London concluded that those who feel younger tend to live longer. The key to graceful aging is a positive mind and attitude. Next time we struggle to find the upside of growing older, we can look to remarkable people like Willie Murphy and Tao Porchon-Lynch who make aging look… (dare I say it?) fun.