Suddenly, a tiny Baltic nation is on everyone’s radar, as Estonia’s “Trio to Rio” prepares to go the distance at the summer Olympics. Not only have the athletic triplets pushed one other to excel; they didn’t even turn pro until age 24 — “old age” when it comes to competitive sports. And now, at 30, the dream team stands poised to make history (or herstory) at the women’s marathon in Rio de Janeiro. Whether or not they medal in the Games, they’ve already set a record as the first triplets to qualify for the Olympics.
Even if you (or your reverse mortgage clients and prospects) have a few years on the Estonian sisters, it’s not too late to compete, metaphorically speaking. In this case, we’re talking about a personal best.
Have a highly enjoyable hobby, perhaps even something you plan to pursue full time once you retire? Consider how you might springboard your pastime into a second career or service opportunity.
Passion prompts purpose
Take the world’s oldest female skydiver, Dilys Price, now 84. Price did her first skydive at 54, after “turning lots and lots of stones over” to discover her passion. She was getting bored and frustrated, so she tried book making, learning a foreign language… and then she skydived.
The longtime dancer says skydiving has “given me the energy to start a charity, to keep going, to stay fit.” She’s now working with schools to help students express their creativity: “We should push our comfort zone.”
One experienced loan officer agrees wholeheartedly. Like Price, he loves to dance, and says, “My next project is to be on a planning committee for a sock hop in October to raise money for kids. There are so many ways to use your hobby productively to serve others. There are group activities where, with some imagination, people can find a way to help others in their community.”
Here are several suggestions:
• Book Clubs. If you love to read, consider volunteering to be a children’s story hour reader at your local library, or read to a senior with diminished sight. If you’re an organizer, maybe you can start or facilitate a book club for seniors in your area.
• Bridge Players. Do you love card games? Think about putting all your cards on the table: offer lessons at a senior facility. This might be precisely what’s needed to entice a reclusive elder from his room.
• Sewing Circle. A surprising number of women across the age spectrum enjoy quilting. You could participate in a quilting circle that’s making quilts for hospital patients, or creating quilted wall hangings. Artist and author Meryl Ann Butler has written a book called 90-Minute Quilts — designs that one can stitch in an afternoon. This hobby might also be an effective antidote to depression, both for the quilter and the quilt recipient.
• Work out. Perhaps, like the Luik sisters, your passion for sports is innate. Though their mother enrolled them in music lessons, piano and violin didn’t call to the triplets the way running did. They worked as lifeguards after high school (which required running as part of their training) and, once they found a professional running coach, decided to go for the gold.
Whether you’re a weekend athlete or passionate about a specific sport, see how you can turn this joy into senior service. You never know whom you’ll inspire. After all, if Faukja Singh could complete a marathon (26.2 miles) at 101, and Min Bahadur Sherchan could summit Everest for world peace at 76, anything is possible.