Don’t say that!

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Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

And I won’t even say “please don’t say that.” I hate it because it’s just wrong. Can you tell what I’m talking about?

Consider these folks:

Charlotte, N.C. resident Harriette Thompson completed her 15th marathon at 91 years old. As of September 2020, she was the second-oldest marathon runner in U.S. history. She is a cancer survivor who has been running since 1999. She ran her first marathon at age 76.

What I mean is when Harriette has a sore back nobody better say, “Well, you should expect that! You’re just getting older.”

An Ironman competition involves completing—all in one day—a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile full marathon. Sister Madonna Bruder, a Catholic nun, has completed more than 45 of them and still competes at age 86. Don’t say it! She’ll run you down if you do.

Or how about this from 2018 as reported by outsideonline.com. One hundred-year-old Orville Rogers and 102-year-old Julia Hawkins both sped off the starting line to set new world records at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships 60-m race. Who’s just getting old?

Then there’s the 2012 movie “Age of Champions.” It’s a documentary about competitors going for gold at the National Senior Olympics, like a 100-year-old tennis champion, an 86-year-old pole vaulter, and rough-and-tumble basketball grandmothers who triumph over the limitations of age.

So don’t tell me something hurts just because I’m “getting older.”

This week your Jamestown Gazette invites our readers to join us in a national celebration of Senior Citizens. Our cover story this week recognizes the achievements of the more mature representatives of our nation, starting with everyone over 50—now that’s really not old. Dedication, accomplishment, and service know no age or limitation throughout our lives.

To start the celebration, here’s the formula for living to the age of 100: Get to 99 and be very, very careful for one more year.

As a matter of fact, according to everydayhealth.com the fastest-growing age group in the U.S. is people over 100.

Rd.com says, “Living to 100 years old is quite the feat yet more and more people are achieving that major milestone. There are about 450,000 centenarians in the world, with the largest population—72,000—living in the United States, according to the Centenarian. How, exactly, they do it remains somewhat of a mystery. But one thing they all seem to have in common is a sharp sense of humor and a joyful optimism.”

So here are a few words of wisdom on the subject from folks who have gotten there or are closing in on it:

According to Sophia Loren, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

George Bernard Shaw’s advice is simple, too. “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”

And here’s my point as stated by author, editor, and public speaker Marilyn Ferguson, “Of all the self-fulfilling prophecies in our culture the assumption that aging means decline and poor health is probably the deadliest.”

So please don’t say, “You’re just getting old.” There’s nothing wrong with it. As a matter of fact, it’s a really great idea.

Enjoy all your days, and as always, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.