Monday, November 10, 2014

On Death-Defying Feats

Jane von Bergen: tackling 60

Scaling heights. Or rather, descending them. 31 flights down the side of a building in a harness, hand over hand on a rope.  That's what my former colleague at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jane von Bergen, decided to do to prove -- mostly to herself -- that at age 60, she was willing still to take on new challenges.
It's what so many people in my 'unretiring' universe are choosing to do, even as they move well past 60. They do not "pull back," as the word "retire" actually means. They push forward, trying new things. Not always physical, but sometimes. I started this blog to test and grow the tech skills I felt I would need to stay current as the years passed, if not in the vanguard. A recent vacation to northern Peru and the Amazon found people tackling travel  to remote places for the sheer thrill of the adventure. Even fishing for piranha.

Others have left careers to put their skills to use in new venues. The other day Sharon Greis, a former speech therapist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told me that she had surmounted new challenges as  a professor at La Salle University. "I was nervous about supervising students who were working with children with a variety of speech disorders that I had not worked with in many years," she said. "But I did it."

Susan Orkin is pushing herself to take her piano playing to a new level and even went to music camp this summer. She calls it a journey of "learning and self improvement."
And so it goes.
Jane von Bergen, writing of her experience, seems way too young to be saying: "Not dead yet."
Jane, my dear, you could easily have another 30 years ahead of you. Think of all the stunts you'll have time for. You can even jump out of an airplane at 100, like Eleanor Cunningham, who took up skydiving at 90.
Readers of this blog: share your story of challenging yourself and why you do it.
Send me an email and I'll post it..

1 comment:

Stephanie M said...

What an inspiring story! Jane von Bergen sounds like an amazing woman to be scaling down a 31 story building, let alone at the age of 60! I hope to be like her some day!