Lesson #6 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog. This is the last one.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the final of six smart habits of super agers. Here Olga’s Lesson #5.

Lesson #6: Lighten Up

People get stressed out over the smallest things,” Olga says. The fact that she doesn’t is as much a matter of choice as temperament. “Honestly, I don’t have the time.”

Not long ago, at an Illinois airport, as Olga moved toward security, other passengers ­began removing their shoes. But Olga didn’t. A sign said that you didn’t have to if you were over 75.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” a security agent asked Olga. “How old are you?”

“Ninety-three,” she replied.

The agent gaped at her. “You’re joking,” she said.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re … how old?”

“Ninety-three.”

“What’s your secret?” she ­finally asked.

“Enjoy life!” Olga replied.

The agent nodded as a grin infiltrated her face. Then she turned to her supervisor, somewhere behind the barrier, and announced, “I quit!”

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

 Olga’s Lesson #5.