Fauja Singh – He keeps going and going and going…

Many of the stories that we have presented here involve young people (kids, children, boys, girls, etc.) Makes sense considering how many organizations are geared toward providing opportunities, guidance, and assistance for the most vulnerable, for those who still have so much to live for. Plus, the human interest (or cuteness) factor certainly comes into play.

However, let’s not forget the rest of us. Especcially those who reach ages that many associate with a sedentary lifestyle or the feeling of finality.  Many of us start to strip away our worldly pursuits or goals when we reach various ages or points in life. “Go skydiving? I am 51 years old. My time has passed.” “Start learning a new language? Why, you do that when you are young.” Some of this is colored by the reality of obligations that are real and that take up time and must be prioritized. But much of this abandonment comes from society turning away from those who are older, who have done so much but for some reason are judged at some point as not being able to do more, whether for themselves or others. Of course, this should not be the case because there are millions of examples of those up there in age who are doing remarkable things. Actually, some would say that Fauja Singh is more than remarkable.

Mr. Singh just entered the Guiness Book of World Records, again, for his most recent feat, completing the Toronto Marathon  at the age 100. There was coverage all over the world about this incredible effort and the man behind it. While it garnered a lot of attention, you could think that this story would  not hold much relevance when it comes to the lives of those in their 20s, 3os, 4os, etc. How many of us run marathons, how many of us will live to be 100, and how many do the former when we reach the latter milestone? That’s right, zero (not including Mr. Singh).

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

However, Mr. Singh’s story is relevant to the rest of us. There is not denying that Mr. Singh has fewer years ahead of him than behind him. But for all of us, there is a sense of finality. Who knows how much time we have? We should remember that from time to time. Not to make us sad, of course, but rather to give us a boost when we need some motivation to overcome an obstacle or take on a new task that appears somewhat daunting. What’s the harm? Failure? So what. What’s the upside? Running a marathon at the age of 89 years old. Or having done that, running one’s 8th at the age of 100. According to his translator after the race, speaking about Mr. Singh, “He’s absolutely overjoyed, he’s achieved his lifelong wish.” Our wishes should not have an expiration date. Congratulations to Mr. Singh, his family and friends. And thank you for reminding us we all, young and old, have so much to live for.

For more on Mr. Singh, please visit the following links: