Women Who Accomplished Amazing Things in Older Age

It is easy to get caught up in our culture’s idea that it is important to be “forever young”, and that you can’t do certain things after you get too old. Below read about a few women who defy this cultural idea, teaching us the importance of growing and challenging yourself, no matter how old you are.

The Woman Who Completed A Marathon: 

Source: npr.org

Source: npr.org

Age: 92 

Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, NC ran and completed the the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in 7 hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds. As amazing as this feat was, it’s not the first time she has done it. Thomson has run 16 marathons in total, only taking a year off in 2013 when she was diagnosed with mouth cancer.

This is an inspiration on so many levels. First, many of us feel intimidated by the idea of running, deeming it impossible for us to run long distances, or even complete a mile. One of my favorite quotes is “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” I hope that Thompson’s example will inspire readers to put on their shoes and accomplish a new distance. Beyond running, Thompson’s accomplishment shows us that age doesn’t have to define us. In our culture, the beauty industry makes millions each year on anti-aging products, and women fear growing older. Instead, we should see each passing year as a new opportunity to grow and change.

Below watch a clip of Thompson crossing the finish line:

The Woman Who Earned a College Degree 

Source: vincentegoroblog.files.wordpress.com

Source: vincentegoroblog.files.wordpress.com

Age: 95

In 2007, Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University, with a degree in General Studies with an emphasis on history. She began taking classes in the 70’s after her husband passed away. Now, years later, she decided to move 100 miles away from her home to finish up her degree. Ochs was lucky enough to graduate at the same ceremony as her 21 year old granddaughter, proving to everyone that it is never too late to start over and accomplish your goals.

Ochs exemplifies the importance of continued education. Many people may feel that education stops after high school or college, but it is so important to always engage your mind with new and deeper understandings.

The Woman Who Changed the World 

Source: wesphelan.com

Source: wesphelan.com

Age: 70s-80s

Unlike the two other women featured in this article, most readers have probably heard of Mother Teresa before. She didn’t accomplish any great physical feat, or any great intellectual feat, but rather a great charitable feat. After becoming a nun in 1937, she felt a calling to a different sort of work. So, in January of 1948, at the age of 38, she began her work in the slums of Calcutta, working simply to “aid the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.”

She continued this work until her death, working through heart, lung, and kidney problems, in addition to spiritual dryness. She gave of herself, making all of her years, even those of old age, count. She shows us that we can each have a dramatic impact no matter how old we are, and that our worth to society isn’t measured by our years or lack of wrinkles.

About the Author: Norah Kearneyunnamed

I am currently a senior at Webster University of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m working on my BA in English with a focus on creative writing. I plan to use my degree for writing, editing, teaching, or a bit of all three.

Read more from and about the author: Norah’s WiLab Profile