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Anything Positive Need a pick-up, or just want to be inspired? This forum is for you =) Keep this forum clean: post only your positive/motivational/inspirational quotes, poems, stories, adive, tips, here. See Europe by train
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:51 AM   #1
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Over the past few months I've been inspired by a couple of people who do what they love with energy and passion, and I just wanted to share a bit of it.

The first is a cantor at a church we attend from time to time. He's an older man - I guessed in his 60's - and sings with a strong voice and always a very dramatic sweep of the arm to encourage the congregation to join in. My husband and I theorized that he was a high school band or choir teacher, and the other day were a bit surprised when he came down after Mass and thanked us for singing loud and with our mouths open (you know, so the sound actually comes out). The following week, we talked with the cantor of the Mass we normally attend, a young, German opera student, and found out a little more information about the other gentleman. The first shocker was that he is 83 years old. I'd be happy to still be able to walk unassisted when I'm 83, let alone fill a 200 seat chapel with a rich, strong voice. The second shocker is that, while this man is in fact, a teacher, it isn't at the high school. He trains young opera singers (like our other cantor) in their craft. It turns out that he has been a professional opera singer for much of his life, singing with the likes of Maria Callas, and even performing at the Met - something even bigwig opera stars look forward to. In his case, it was a 1949 performance of "Elektra", in which he played the role of "Servant". I know next to nothing about opera, but I know that you have to be at least decent to get on stage at the Met. His student described him as a "stage animal", someone who simply has to be on stage performing to be happy, and I am just so impressed that he has kept himself happy, healthy and doing what he loves, even if it only means singing at an obscure little church in a remote corner of western Germany.

The second is a man who took up scuba about 30 years ago, and in the intervening decades has spearheaded efforts to set up Marine Protected Areas in Canada, promoted marine conservation (no one on the east coast could question the need), made thousands of dives in BC's cold winter waters, and recently published a book with nearly 1700 of his underwater photographs. The book was a surprise hit, and he and it's co-author have been busy with a book tour that is geared not so much to selling the book as it is to promoting the preservation cause, and at the same time are working on another book together, and he's working on a third on his own. This man is 72, still dives multiple times a year - usually in winter - and has basically created a whole new career for himself since he retired from the career he did for over 50 years. When he goes down to the beach and finds something unexpected, it's like being with a child, he's so full of enthusiasm and wonder. Since he's my dad, I'm praying that it's genetic!

The third is the co-author of the book. A scientist by training and profession for most of his life, when he was over 60, he and his wife had the guts to sell their house and pursue their long-term goal of owning and operating a dive resort in the Gulf Islands. They risked everything to do so, but it's up and running now and they are living their dream.

The most amazing thing to me about all of these people is that they worked at (relatively) normal jobs for most of their lives, making sacrifices and honouring their commitments to society and the people around them, but they didn't give up or let age or security, apathy or inertia prevent them from taking risks and realizing their dreams.

It's easy to live your dreams when you're young, single and unattached, but wow! Kudos to those who continue to do so throughout a long and productive life.

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Old 09-14-2006, 02:03 AM   #2
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A woman I know decided to return to university to study law. (She had previously done psych) Someone said to her: "But you'll be 50 by the time you finish." She replied "But I'll be fifty anyway"

Definite Kudos to anyone that follows their dreams, even if it takes them a little while to work out what they are.

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Old 09-14-2006, 05:13 AM   #3
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Oh, that reminds me of another one - we had an express bus from our town to the University I attended, and at the beginning of one year, this really old man hopped on. All us college kids kinda looked at each other trying to figure out what this guy was doing on our bus, but gradually people started talking to him, and by the end of the year, he was the bus hero. Eric was in his 90s, and had been a motorcycle courier in WWI. Yes, that's WW ONE. (I guess I should add here that I graduated from uni in 1990, just to clarify the dates.) He did that through the end of the war, then went on about his business - I don't even know what that was - in England for years and years, and then eventually he moved to Canada and had a long life there, but through all of this, he always dreamed of going to university one day, and bless him if at the age of 90 or so, he finally did so. I graduated before he did, so I don't know the end of his story, but it was so motivational at the time (we'd see him running down the hill to the bus stop and yell for the driver to wait), and as with the other cases, I hope I have that kind of zest for living when other people think I'm old.

My dad never had the chance to go to university, and always regretted it. I keep telling him he should enroll, but he's too busy having fun now. Maybe when he's 90...

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Old 09-14-2006, 05:50 AM   #4
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Its great to hear stories like this to remind us all that life doesn't end beyond a certain age. Its never too late to follow a dream, whether an old dream or a new one. Real inspirations!!

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

"The plural of anecdote is not data"
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:03 AM   #5
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That should change my mind about giving up and living the quiet life when I turn 40. I was never the outgoing guy in my family. Age shouldn't change anything; change happens when we want it.

My granfather died 2 years ago at the age of 95. He was traveling around the world well into his 80's. He also never went to college (we are not sure if he ever graduated from HS). He became the head of sales and personnel for several big corporations, wrote and published several books, was an Army Colonel and veteran of WWII and Korea, was a state commissioner, ran for the Senate, owned a successful business, raised two sons who graduated from West Point and Annapolis. He made friends all over the world, including many young people who still talk about him today. I still look u to him and I miss him very much. Sometimes I wish he was 70 again so I can talk to him about stuff that is bothering me. But he is here anyway. I can still talk to him.
You can't take a shirt from a naked man. - Arab Proverb

"An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger, or a beer."

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