Are we using all our capacities? Could we (should we?) push ourselves harder, especially physically. In her weekly column for West Coast newspapers Helen Dennis starts out writing about the definition and perception of "senior citizen," then points to Paul Magelli as one of many who defies the stereotypes.
The senior director for the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Magelli, at 80, is preparing for his second climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Dennis writes: "Magelli had his first cardiac event at age 42, the same year his brother died of a heart attack. By age 45, Magelli had had three heart attacks. Not wanting to feel like a prisoner in his own body waiting for the next incident, he became engaged with research at the Mayo Clinic. What evolved was his first climb of Mount Kilimanjaro at age 79, hooked up to devices from the Mayo Clinic to study extreme activities of heart patients.
"A personal note: At a recent meeting where I met Magelli, an announcement was made that lunch was being served on the fifth floor. We were on the ground floor. Megelli said he was going to walk rather than take the elevator. I joined him. As we chatted, he moved at a fast clip. When we reached the fifth floor, he was as composed as he was on the ground floor. I did keep up with him with just a bit of effort on my part.
"These extraordinary achievements are admirable. But not everyone in their eighth decade, or even seventh or sixth, can accomplish such physical feats - or want to. Chronic conditions, obesity, less energy, depression and lack of desire can be disincentives to undertake such activities.
While we need to accept limitations, we also need to ask ourselves if we are using all of our capacities."
Dennis is a co-founder of Project Renewment.
To read about her recent meeting at my house: meeting
For her full article: