On your road of resilience, it’s never too late to be who you want to be. Last year in February I had the pleasure of exercising with Ernestine Shephard, 75-year-old world champion body-builder and runner. She’s gorgeous. Beautiful smile, not a wrinkle in sight, chiseled muscles, a long braid down her back.
Some two decades ago, Ernestine made her dying sister a promise: She would live large enough for both of them by traveling the world teaching health and fitness. She also promised she would make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. She did that. And she was already in her fifties when she began that pursuit. Ernestine is dedicated and determined, radiating love, kindness and encouragement to every person she meets.
Then there’s Ruth Anne Kocour, another reminder that it’s never too late to pursue a dream. A world-class mountaineer, adventurer and author. fifty-something Ruth Anne has accomplished nine international summits, including one on Mt.McKinley during a deadly storm that killed 11 climbers. In spite of frostbite and numerous injuries, she went on to trek in dangerous areas, including war zones in Pakistan. The week I followed her on gentle hikes at Rancho la Puerta, a retreat center in the mountains of Mexico, she was planning a trip to Nepal.
And what about love – Is it ever too late for that? Obviously, since I’m posting this on the eve of Valentine’s Day you don’t expect me to say no. But truly, it’s never too late to get struck by one of Cupid’s arrows. Take my friend Holly. She was recently a first-time bride at 53. At her shower, I told love stories- the great love sagas of the Great Goddesses going back 10,000 years BC: Inanna, “Queen of Heaven,” in Sumaria; The Goddess, Istar of Babylonia; Isis, in Egypt; and the Goddess of the Earth, Demeter, in Greece. They were Warriors for Love, fiercely committed to creating, nurturing and resurrecting life.
So if you’re sitting on the couch lamenting another Valentine’s Day, wine-in-hand, cynical comment at the ready, take heart and remember Ernestine, Ruth Ann and Holly. They got what they wanted because they believed they could have it. And so can you. Join those inspiring women in embodying the words of my friend Cathy McGill’s inspiring song, “It’s never too late to be who you want to be.”