Growing Old Doesn’t Have to Suck – The Iron Nun
It doesn’t have to be all about Early Bird Specials, doctor appointments, and living solely in your memories. More and more people today are choosing to “Age Up” instead of “Get Old.” I remember my 90-year-old grandfather hopping out of my car a mile from our house, amused at my bewilderment and laughingly telling me he had to “Move it or lose it.” I watched in wonder as he set off up the hill, arms swinging back and forth across his chest and hearing aid turned low, impervious to honks of impatient drivers behind me as I idled for a moment to make sure he was okay. I can still hear his standard reply of “I’m okay, tips and all!” each time someone asked him the generic “How are you” question. What he lacked in the warm-and-fuzzy department he more than made up for in the badass department.
Once upon a time I thought 40 was old. Grandpa helped me realize it’s just a blip on our screen. Or, for some, it’s a starting block.
Like Sister Madonna Buder, the “Iron Nun.”
Sister Buder was closer to 50 that she’d ever be to 40 again when she began running. Taking to heart the words of a trusted friend who told her it would be good for her mind, body, and spirit, she took off. And she didn’t settle for light jogs to the organic shake shop, either. Nope- she went all the way into an Ironman Triathlon competition, setting a world record at age 82.
For those of you who may live in an exercise-free bubble, an Ironman Triathlon is where crazy people first swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112– as in one hundred twelve – miles, before wrapping it up with a leisurely 26.22 mile run. To my knowledge, they are not even being chased by anyone other than their own sheer will. To me this sounds only slightly more fun than 3 days straight of kidney stones, but to thousands of others it sounds like a calling. And for Sister Buder, it’s a mission
“To change the world you are in, give the world what you have and serve the world with who you are,” she says.
What she has is a sparkle in her eyes and a gift for inspiring others, not to mention a few world records under her habit. Does she pause to listen to any inner voices reminding her that she is old? Heck no.
“You can’t stop getting old so don’t fret it,” she laughs. “Best not to think of your age or you get a little disgruntled.”
Maybe you’re reading this thinking of something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you recently stumbled upon that sparks your interest. Maybe you immediately came up with a list of reasons why you can’t do it- you’re too old, you’re too tired, too busy, too poor. Whatever. If so, do yourself a favor and print this thought out. Tape it to your mirror, tack it to your wall, and let Sister Madonna encourage you with her wisdom;
“We can’t use our gifts until we discover them, and once you discover then you’re obligated to use them for the greater good of your Creator.”
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