Some people just don't let their age define them. I was reminded of this on a recent spearfishing trip I took up the coast from where I live. A friend told me of a great little spot which attracted quite a few big species of fish so I decided to check it out and see if I could spear something for my wife’s favorite Sunday lunch... fish on the BBQ.
I arrived at the spot very early to check the conditions and get my gear sorted out. I noticed another person had arrived before me and when he saw me, he came over to introduce himself.
“Morning mate, the name’s Jeff, the viz (visability) looks good so it’s going to be a great day in the water,” he said. I shook his hand and agreed. “Nice meeting you Jeff, it’s always good to meet another early-morning person,” I replied. We spoke for a couple of minutes while unpacking our gear and getting ourselves ready to enter the water.
I couldn’t help but notice Jeff’s energy levels, beaming smile and zest for life despite his grey hair and some fine lines around his eyes…also considering the fact that the sun was only just rising and the air was a chilly four degree Celsius. I was still wiping the sleep out of my eyes and cradling my thermos flask while Jeff was constantly on the go. He had already put on his wetsuit and had his gear ready in what seemed like a few short minutes.
“Struggling to keep up with the old guard eh? Come on, the fish won’t wait forever!” he joked. “Old guard? You’re bouncing around like a spring chicken. You’re hardly old,” I laughed. It was about then that Jeff told me that he was 75-years old. I nearly dropped my speargun! Here was a man up at the crack of dawn with the energy levels of a teenager who enjoyed spearfishing…a sport that requires you to hold your breath for extended periods of time underwater while trying to accurately spear a fish despite currents and the depth you’re at.
Jeff had just taken the stereotypical image I had of a 75-year old and blew it to pieces! He saw the look on my face and just laughed even harder. “I get that look a lot,” he said. “Many guys my age can hardly get out of bed and are now paying for a life that was lived with too much fatty food, alcohol, cigarettes and other kinds of stuff that the body just doesn’t need.”
“What you put into your body is the fuel that determines how it will work and look a few decades down the line,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a beer now and then and a few glasses of wine over the weekend…I breathe and I bleed like everyone else.” Jeff told me he loves moving and regardless if it’s exercise, spearfishing, cycling or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator, he can’t stand lazing around doing nothing.
“There’s a time to sleep and rest, sure…but for the rest of the day I need to be doing something,” he said.
I was constantly smiling in agreement and shaking my head in amazement. “You should write a book and explain to this to the people who need to hear it,” I said.
Jeff only chuckled, saying that he just didn’t have the time to sit down and do such a thing. “I know some people need help to get their health back on track but hopefully the people I meet can use me as an example to help others improve their health and wellbeing,” he said.
Jeff and I spent the whole morning spearfishing and ended up shooting ourselves some good sized fish. I invited him to join us for Sunday lunch and enjoy the day’s catch but he declined saying: “Thanks so much for the invite but I promised my grandkids I’d take them cycling around our local park…they’re the real reason I’m always on the move!”
Jeff is an excellent example of how you can still enjoy life to fullest regardless of your age. The key is to ensure you’re getting the right ingredients and fuel to help your body not only perform at its very best for many years to come but to also fight the five main causes of aging.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Jeff again the next time I visit that same spot and get inspired by him all over again.