Triumphant Ageing

By Julie Karakozoff (Guest Writer)

In the words of Bette Davis, “Old age is not for sissies.” As each of us looks in the mirror we might see signs of aging that causes us to reflect on our lives–and perhaps our unfulfilled dreams and plans for ourselves. We can’t stop aging, but we don’t have to grow old.

What if growing old was focused on reaching our greatest accomplishments and fulfillment? With a mindset of growth and resilience, it’s never too late to be who you want to be.

The book Senior Wonders profiled 23 people who achieved their greatest success after the age of 60. The authors found that each of these people had common characteristics known as the Three “P’s.” Passion, Perspective, and Persistence.

Passion. Passion is a compelling feeling or emotion. These individuals had an intense enthusiasm in their field of interest. Anna Mary Robertson was a completely self-taught painter who had her first solo art show at age 78 at the Museum of Modern Art. She became known as Grandma Moses. If something lights you up and brings you joy, do it. It doesn’t feel like work when it’s your passion.

Perspective on life. This theme emerged when several seniors commented that they could have never achieved their success at an earlier age. Why? Because life experiences shaped them. Life experiences gave them wisdom, patience, and confidence in their abilities, all which helped them make better decisions that led to success later in life.

Margot Gayle exemplified this by living several lives as a wife and mother, a bacteriologist, a scriptwriter, and a newspaper columnist. Then, at age 64 she devoted herself to historic preservation. Her efforts saved 26 blocks of cast iron architecture in NYC, which we now know as SoHo. If it empowers you, act on it.

Persistence! This was apparent when many of the seniors faced difficulties yet were determined to accomplish their goals. Resilience despite age and obstacles kept them clearly focused. This drive and grit were seen in Gladys Burrill who completed the Honolulu Marathon when she was 92 years old! She power walked and jogged, and crossed the finish line in 10 hours.

So don’t stress if you never made the Forbes 30 under 30 list, because your time is coming! Ageing is refining you, preparing you, and encouraging you to be all that you want to be.


Julie Karakozoff is a life long learner who pursued her second degree at age 53, received her Bachelor of Science in nursing, and now works as a hospice nurse at Vitas Healthcare in Northern Virginia.