Mankind’s continuous aspiration from time immemorial, for a better life; has only increased to a new level of obsession in the modern world, the result being, the pursue of materialistic gains has brought us to a dangerously close point in life, where we find that most of our human life, has passed just like that, without doing anything remarkable. To that, an added pressure from our peers and friends plus families, to get job at the right time, to marry and to have kids, buy a house, just makes us feel more frustrated and lost in life. Heath Ledger, the Academy Award winning actor once said that, “ Everyone you meet always asks you, if you have a career, are married, or own a house as if life is some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks you if you are happy”. This attitude finally leaves, all of us high and dry, with really confused about what to do next. But every once in a blue moon, we come across people, who have defied the societal norms prevalent about the concept of right age to do things. This article is dedicated to those brave hearts, who gave the lesser mortals hope and aspiration to rise above the conventional boundaries of age.
All pregnant women hope to deliver by nine months.The reason being, a joyous longing to see one’s baby as well as the wish, to get relief from the hardships all women face during this period of pregnancy. Post term baby, is the term to define the condition where the baby is not delivered by 42 weeks of gestation (more than 2 weeks from the normal limit). But the recorded incidence of longest pregnancy, or the oldest baby to be born, goes back to an incidence in 1945. Beulah Hunter, a twenty five year old woman from Los Angeles, delivered her daughter Penny Diana Hunter, after 375 days, after her last menstrual period, instead of the normal 280 days. The baby after delivery appeared absolutely normal, which profoundly shocked the caregivers including the doctors involved.
Most people are quite worried about their children starting schooling at an young age. Irrespective of geographic location concerned, parents are always tense, when it comes to get their children enrolled in primary school, as starting at the right age is considered to be of paramount importance for getting success later in life. But a lots of children join school, at a later age, due to multifactorial reasons. However the oldest child to join primary school, was not at all a child. Kimani Maruge, became the oldest person to join primary school, at an age of 84 years, in year 2004 in Kenya, Africa. It was the government’s recent declaration to offer free elementary education to all, that prompted him to join school- so that he could read The Bible and count money . Later Maruge, addressed United Nation’s assembly, to emphasise the role of Free Primary Education. A British Film - The First Grader, was made which was based on his life. On his 11th anniversary of his joining school, Google’s homepage, Google Doodle was dedicated to him. A remarkable achievement for a person, who joined school at a ripe old age of 84 years.
Of course, after finishing high school you should get that college degree fast, to get your dream job, isn’t it? But everyone may not be so lucky. A Japanese Gentleman named Shigemi Hirata, who served in the Japanese Navy, during world war II, graduated in Ceramic Arts(Bachelor of Arts Degree) from Kyoto University, at the age of 96 years (& 200 days), in 2016, thus becoming the world’s oldest college graduate. He took 11 years to complete his ceramic arts course and get his degree. For his accomplishment, Guinness World Record has been also awarded to him (Oldest college graduate – Year 2016). But there is also a counter claim, in which a Oregon Resident – Leo Plass, is supposed to be the oldest college graduate, by getting a degree from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, at an age of 99 years.
Nola Ochs, obtained her bachelor of General Studies degree in 2007, from Fort Hayes State University in Kansas, USA; at age of 95, along with her granddaughter, who also graduated at the same time, along with her. For her achievement, she was featured on many famous media channels and was also named, Kansas women leader of the year 2007. Always pushing her limits, she soon enrolled for master degree in liberal studies, soon after and finally receiving her Master degree in 2010, at age of 98 years; the oldest person in the world to receive a Master Degree.
In a world, where getting married is given the prime importance once, people complete their education and gets a job; some people do not cease to amaze. The British Couple; George Kirby (Born 1912) and Doreen Kirby (Born 1923), on 13 June 2015 became the Oldest couple to marry, as confirmed by Guinness Book of World Records. The combined lifespan of the couple, taken together was an astounding figure of 194 years and 280 days. The Groom who was divorced previously, and the Bride – a widower; finally decided to join in holy matrimony, after being together for 27 years; proving there is no end age limit, to find your true love and seek the basic necessity of happiness.
To have the wish to become mother, is a natural instinct of all women.But are all women so lucky ? Unfortunately not. But recent scientific advancement, has brought miracle, in lives of all such infertile couple. But how long can someone keep hope ? How long can someone wait ? Although in many cases when, scientific advancement have failed to bring the expected results, people have reverted back to the old fashioned method of – adoption, which is certainly a noble gesture. But there are some, who would want their own baby and would go to any extent, to achieve their goal. Daljinder Kaul, an72 year old lady from India, became the oldest woman in the world ever to give birth to a baby, on April 19, 2016. After being married to her 79 year old husband, for 46 years, the miraculous achievement was made possible by IVF treatment. While a lots of people may remain sceptic, for using IVF treatment at such an old age; there is good news for people who try for normal childbirth too. In August 20 1997, Dawn Brooke at an age of 59 years, gave birth to a baby boy, without aid of fertility treatment (although baby was born by a caesarean section ) in Princess Elizabeth Hospital at Great Britain. Although the pregnancy was unplanned and initially came as a shock to the couple, but after the birth of their latest family member, the overall response was that of joy and happiness.
Every one knows, it is good to have a Doctor, who has a vast experience; for that eventually translates into better health outcomes. But when it comes to the question, that how much experience is good experience, we all are left in doubt. DR LEILA DAUGHTRY, was awarded the Guinness Award in 2001, for the oldest practicing physician ever. She was 103 years old at that time. She was a paediatrician who served her patients, for an astonishing period of 73 years. She is also credited, as being the co developer of whooping cough vaccine. DR ALLA LEVUSHKINA - can be considered to be the world’s oldest surgeon. This 90 year old (as of 2018) Russian Doctor has been working for past 68 years, and has more than 10,000 surgeries to her credit; without any fatalities. Initially starting out in the field of General surgery ( in which she worked for 10 years), she studied to become a proctologist ( a branch of surgery concerned with rectum and anus), and is a pioneer in her chosen field. For her dedication and hard work, she has also been awarded the award of – Best Doctor in Russia.
Although it is very difficult to say, who was the oldest entrepreneur, but some remarkable names do come into mind. Very few people, would not have heard, the name of Colonel Harland David Sanders, or more commonly COLONEL SANDERS; the man who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. Colonel Sanders was already in his 60s, when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. It has been said, that at age of 65, Col Sanders was left with very meagre savings and $ 105 Dollars a month, from the government. Although he had a strong point - he considered himself very good, in cooking a certain variety of fried chicken; and decided to franchise it’s recipe, by selling it to nearby restaurants and other food outlets. After a lots of hard work and patience and determination, on part of Colonel Sanders, finally his franchise approach succeeded, and KFC became one of the first Fast food chain outlets, to have branches in multiple countries. CHARLES RANLETT FLINT --- The founder of IBM, launched Computing Tabulating Recording Company at the age of 61 years, by merger and acquisition of four smaller companies, way back in 1961. The same company was renamed International Business Machine or IBM, in 1924.
It is well known that young soldiers are most useful in wars, due to their strength and agility and most armies in the world, have strict age limits as far a joining and retirement in the services, are concerned. So it may come as a surprise, that the oldest soldier ever in active duty retired at the age of 94 years. The distinction goes to – Jean Thurel, a French soldier, who was born in 1698, joined the army in 1716 and retired in 1792 (and died in 1807). He suffered injuries, multiple times in action and even survived a war, in which his son (also a soldier) was killed. His integrity was revealed many times, specially like when the 88 year old soldier refused, an offer to be transported in a carriage and instead marched the entire distance on foot; he even refused promotions multiple times, reflecting his humility. As a mark of respect for his long services, he was appointed – Oldest Soldier of Europe.
The highest mountain peak in the world has always fascinated and challenged the people, from all over the world. Reaching the summit has always been considered a glorious feat and many have died trying to scale it’s peak, but many unlikely heroic stories have also risen from such attempts. One of those stories is that of --- Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese climber, who at the age of 80, became the oldest person to climb to summit of mount Everest (In 2013). His feat becomes more remarkable, in light of the fact, that he had repeated this feat earlier too at the age of 70 years, then again at age of 80 years, after undergoing two heart surgeries in between.
When it comes to governing a nation, experience is synonymous with age; hence it is considered as an advantage, to be old. But how old, is the right old ? Mahathir Mohamad, a 92 year old politician from Malaysia, has recently been sworn in as Malaysia’s Prime Minister (2018) and elected head of state. A veteran of politics in Malaysia, Mahathir has also led the country previously for more than two decades. He is followed very closely by Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of United Kingdom, who is just a year younger than Prime Minister Mahathir.
The fear of death has prevented many people from living their life to full extent. But do we really know, when we are going to die ? The average life expectancy is approximately 70 years (with a little more for females compared to males); but in ground level, how long can a human being survive ? Jeanne Louise Calment, was a French lady who holds the record of longest human lifespan ie 122 years and 164 days; finally dying on 4th August 1997. There is a quite an interesting anecdote, about her life, where she at age of 90 years, sold her apartment to a lawyer, in lieu of a small amount of money in monthly returns, till her death. Unfortunately (or luckily) the lawyer died much before Mrs Calment, and the lawyers family kept on paying money to Mrs Calment till her death – a amount of money, which was more than the double of the apartment’s value. Mrs Calment’s reaction was – “ In life, sometimes a person makes bad deals”.
So it is highly obvious after going through so many incidences, that life can be highly unpredictable; and quite often that is a good thing. A person can always hope for a better tomorrow, irrespective of his past experience. As if all those, distinguished men and women could achieve so much, even so late in their life and still leave footprints in the history of the world, then is there anything in this world, which can stop anybody, from leading the life of his dreams ? With faith and little patience, everything is possible.