A 94-year-old graduated from Curtin University recently graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy. Dr Bottomley, grandfather (and great-grandfather), finished his PhD thesis in 7 years ––a year ahead of schedule.
And, despite being a year younger than he intended to beat completion, Bottomley still recorded his place in the history books as Australia’s oldest recorded PhD graduate.
And he’s not quite done yet. Bottomley hopes to extend his PhD in the future, but also hopes for a lot of long walks in the park, visits to the cinema and spending more time with his wife of 68 years.
“I’m already looking at more ways to apply and improve my basic skills, and hopefully help stir the creative pot,” he says.
“I hope to extend my Doctorate finding on the impact of creativity in school curricula and I am already thinking of ways the lessons learnt through my PhD can be applied to today’s school students as well as among Australia’s ageing population.”
Finishing PhDs and going to the cinema isn’t all our ageing populations are capable of. Every day our ageing community surprises and inspires with achievements beyond those of their elders before them.
We’re actually living longer now––the average life expectancy has risen by almost 20yrs since 1964–– so why not make the most of that extra 20 years we have up our sleeves?! Apparently, even a PhD thesis takes less time than that!
“Oldest People” records are some of the most looked at according to the Guiness Book of World Records. Why? Because it’s hella inspiring.
So let’s look at a few of the records smashed by our ageing community in 2018 and see if it can’t get our asses in more classes…
The record for the Oldest Living Person (whose age was verified) ever is held by Kane Tanaka of Japan, who lived to be 116. That’s a lot of days to fill with interesting things.
Currently, the oldest living person in the world is Gustav Gerneth of Germany, aged 113 years + 122 days. Gustav hasn’t broken any other records, however, and is living a fairly quiet life in his home of over forty years. But Gustav still has a lucid mind and enjoys football (watching not playing) and crosswords.
When asked about how he achieved his record of being the oldest person alive, Gustav said,
“I have always been living and eating well. No diet. Always butter, never margarine. I have not touched any cigarette all my life and I drank alcohol only at celebrations”
Someone who may well be playing football is 106-year-old Jack Reynolds. Jack holds several world records. In fact, each birthday for the past three years he has set records respectively; Oldest person to ride a zip-wire (106), the Oldest person to receive their first tattoo (105) and the Oldest person to ride a non-inversion roller coaster (104).
Ha. And all the while we just continue to attempt our own birthday PB records of how many Rieslings we can down and avoid a hangover. Come on Jack, stop showing off, mate.
But, what about the gals, surely they’re keeping busy in their riper years also…
The older you get, the more you accept life is a constant swing of ups and downs, you just gotta keep your harness tight and ride them, right?
84-year-old Betty Goedhart of San Diego took that literally, strapping on a trapeze harness and breaking a record doing it. An aerial gymnast, she does have it in her blood, though Betty’s first ever trapeze swing wasn’t until she was 78yrs old. Yes, you. Stop making excuses.
Betty’s former instructor was inspired; saying her enthusiasm toward life helped him understand he didn’t want to be old, so, in his words, he just “quit being old”.
And Betty’s two cents?
“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.”
Another ageing beauty that started late and is killing it one day at a time is 100yr-old Tao Porchon-Lynch from the US, the oldest recorded competitive ballroom dancer. Tao has only been performing in dance contests since she was younger and more limber 87.
Author, activist, fashion model, actor and wine-critic that marched with Mahatma Ghandi (twice!), says she has,
“No intention of ever growing up”.
What an inspiring gang of youths. And these are only a few stories where our age does not pose as a barrier for taking a plunge into anything you set your mind to.
It’s actually never too late to literally take the plunge. Like 101yr-old, Bryson William Verdun Hayes only recently plunged into the world record book for being the oldest recorded person to jump 15000ft from an aeroplane, and his first skydive ever was at 100yrs-of age. And no, it’s very likely he does not have a Netflix account.