At 81, am I too old to make a difference?

By Bruce Bruinsma

There’s been a lot of talk lately about some of our political leaders being “too old” for the job.

President Joe Biden will be 80 in November. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 82. And former President Donald Trump turned 76 last month.

At what age are we “over the hill”?

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham recently suggested anyone over the age of 72 should be barred from holding public office. Cunningham’s beef is with aging politicians who cling to power for decades, often into their late 70s and 80s. Or, as he puts it, people “who stay in office way past their prime.”

“I refer to (it) as a geriatric oligarchy,” said the 40-year-old Democrat from South Carolina in a radio interview. “It’s about allowing a new generation to emerge.”

Overripe avocados?

I don’t have an issue with imposing term limits for so-called “career politicians” or encouraging younger people to step up. But I do take umbrage at the suggestion that, at the age of 81, I’m “past my prime” and should essentially drop out of meaningful life. Cunningham seems to think active seniors are like overripe avocados: well past our use-by date. It’s really a polite way of saying, “You’re done, buddy. Just sit on your porch and watch the world go by.”

Creativity, vitality, perseverance and wisdom are not the exclusive domain of younger people. If everyone quit working and doing in their 60s, Noah Webster wouldn’t have completed his dictionary, Nelson Mandela wouldn’t have become president of South Africa, and Benjamin Franklin wouldn’t have helped craft the Declaration of Independence.

Need further evidence?

  • Minoru Saito from Japan sailed solo non-stop around the world at age 77.
  • Yuichiro Miura, also from Japan, summited Mt. Everest at age 80 … and was planning to attempt it again this year at age 90.
  • American John Glenn spent 11 days in space aboard the Space Shuttle at age 77, and actor William Shatner (Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk) traveled into space for real last year at age 90.
  • Canadian Hanna Fraser earned her taekwondo black belt at age 72.

I like to say “one person’s age 80 is another’s age 60.” Just because we might have wrinkles and gray hair (or no hair!) doesn’t mean we’re not still capable of doing amazing things and making an impact.

Those of us in our 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s are not done yet. We have much to contribute to our communities, our nation, and our world. When our culture suggests that older people are useless, we’re casting aside generations with vast experience, wisdom and resources. I’m not ready to be tossed aside. Like millions of other active seniors in America, there’s plenty of life in me yet!

Could your ‘final quarter’ be your best?

That’s why I started Retirement Reformation – a movement designed to help seniors discover their God-given purpose in their retirement years, a period that could span 30 years or more. I believe the “final quarter” really can be the most fulfilling period of life – a time for investing in the lives of others and sharing our knowledge, experience and wisdom with them.

Some 50 million Americans are either retired or rapidly approaching retirement. AARP says 1-in-3 U.S. workers are age 50 or older. In these challenging times, we’re a massive untapped mission force, capable of transforming America for the good of all.

I believe I speak for the huge majority of American seniors who are fed-up with being labeled “past their prime” by people like former Rep. Cunningham.

There’s no mention of retirement in the Bible. In God’s eyes, we’re never “over the hill.” He’s calling you to do the job he’s been preparing you for all your life. There are no age limits on serving God and others. No age restrictions on the impact you can have.

Why not join us? Embrace your God-given calling – and discover the ultimate purpose you were created for.

Bruce Bruinsma is the founder and leader of Retirement Reformation – a movement that seeks to encourage and empower the 50 million Americans approaching or in retirement to embrace the calling God has been preparing them for.</I

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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