Life begins at 60!


 

Published April 16, 2009

Does life begin at conception or does life begin at birth? The argument that never dies. Well, at least for some, that often heated debate is finally over.

Life begins at 60!

According to some demographers, two-thirds of all men and women who have lived beyond the age of 65 in the entire history of the world are alive today. How demographers verified that conclusion is beyond me.

Maybe they just used statistical averages to arrive at the magic number of 60 years of age for the beginning of “life.”

After all, according to the Bible, Adam died at around the age of 930; Noah managed to reach the age of 950; and Methuselah managed to hang on until around the age of 969.

Can you imagine what kind of driving records they must have had?

“Noah. You’re speeding again!”

“But, officer. I’ve only had 200 speeding tickets during the past 500 years!”

With an estimated 45,000 Americans currently over the age of 100, it does appear that we are spending many more years as senior citizens than in the past. And, if predictions are close to accurate, there will be at least one million baby boomers who will reach the century mark within the next few years.

So, if age 60 is at or near the time when “life” really begins these days, seniors have a near full-life ahead of them as they begin those “retirement” years — a life that can and should be filled with excitement, challenges and meaningful contribution.

Is that possible in Guadalupe County, Texas? Of course it is.

Take for example the fact that Louis Pasteur, in 1885, was only age 62 when he gave the first injection against rabies. We have a brilliant team of medical practitioners locally, many over the age of 60, who just might make the next medical miracle discovery.

Some of our Guadalupe County elected officials are over the age of 60. Is it time to just send them out to pasture because of their age? Of course not.

In 1940, Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of Great Britain at age 64. His country, and much of the world, was either at war or under the threat of war when Churchill made a vow that would forever change the outcome of history.

Churchill vowed, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Our local officials may not face the exact same challenges that Churchill faced — but, they certainly do face very real challenges every day they serve.

Like Churchill, our local “senior” officials have an abundance of practical experience to draw upon to get them successfully through the crisis of the day — without surrender.

It was Lillian Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s mother, who joined the Peace Corps at age 68 and spent the next two years of her life in Bombay, India working as a nurse.

There are many seniors in Guadalupe County, just like Ms. Carter, with the health, strength and desire to provide similar service to others.

And, it was nearly a quarter-century after Ben Franklin turned age 60 when he added something to his long list of helpful inventions — bifocal glasses.

Which Guadalupe County scientist, inventor or “Curious George” will come up with the next invention that will change our way of living for the better?

Interestingly, it was Robert Frost who recited his poem “The Gift Outright” from memory at the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy. He was age 86 at

the time.

When will the next local poet of genius, gift and talent recite his or her insightful poem before an appreciative audience in Seguin’s Central Park or the Schertz Civic Center improving the circumstance of the day for the listeners?

Pablo Picasso was still working as an active painter at age 90 while Grandma Moses didn’t start her serious painting until she was in her 70s. She continued to paint for another 20 years.

Think about the positive impact on the aesthetics of downtown Seguin that the recently completed wall mural has had across from the courthouse.

Who among us is the next local senior citizen with that inspiration to make positive changes for the better for all of us?

This is a call to all those ageless spirits in Guadalupe County who have much to contribute to moving this great boat along on the right course—a boat that we are all in together and that we call life.

Life certainly begins at least at age 60 — or that’s when we finally let it begin.

© Grafe is a former managing editor of the Seguin Gazette Enterprise and a former chief juvenile probation officer for Guadalupe County.

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