There’s a lot more to retirement than Social Security checks and no longer punching a 9-to-5 clock. If you’re new to retirement, or among the 75 million Americans approaching retirement in the next decade, you might feel overwhelmed at what to do with all that extra time. Or maybe you’ve been enjoying your retirement for a while and are looking for something new to accomplish.
Here are three inspiring stories of active older adults who are spending their retirements doing anything but sitting around.
Winifred Pristell: Professional Powerlifter
Winifred Pristell is in her mid-70s and suffers from arthritis. She is also a World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters champion. That means she can lift more than most younger men. She was inspired to start competitive weightlifting after she turned 60 when she met Jim Schall, a former coach and mentor. Jim then worked with Winifred and helped her win the 10th Annual Alki Beach Bench Press and Dead Lift Championship.
She advises any older adult using a wheelchair or walker that with “proper exercise, nutrition and fitness regimen, anyone can get up out of that wheelchair or throw away that walker. If you want to accomplish that, you can!”
Bob Nepper: Inventor
Bob Nepper isn’t spending his retirement in a chair. He’s currently working on a low-cost way to purify water for poor countries. After growing up on a farm, Bob saw the importance access to clean water plays in everyday life. He joined forces with a fellow retiree from his workplace and began working on ways to purify water.
Diana Nyad: Swimmer
You might recognize Diana Nyad as the swimmer in her 60s who swam 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. In the 1970s, she held many world records for long-distance swimming, but when she turned 60 she decided to accomplish her life’s dream: attempting the record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida.
"Those people on the beach that day, they were crying. There were several thousand people. What they saw was a human being who had a dream and refused to give up on it. That's how simple the story is," said Diana of the completion of her swim.
Diana encourages people to take on their dreams by spreading the message to live large and chase your dreams no matter your age.
Whether you’ve been enjoying retirement for years or are starting to plan how you’ll spend your time, retirement can be a time of rejuvenation. Explore a new hobby, finish a task you’ve not had the time to complete or learn something new. The possibilities are endless.