As kids, we are taught to look up to the heroes in our community such as the police officers and firefighters who keep us safe. Some of us also immersed ourselves in the world of comic book superheroes – characters with superhuman powers who always managed to do the right thing and come out on top. Today’s post is about a new kind of role model: the “Bonus Years” Hero.
What’s a “Bonus Years” Hero?
Over the years, I’ve met people in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s who are vibrant, alive, and doing interesting things. In spite of – or perhaps because of – the wisdom in their years, they are still willing to experiment and learn, not walking through life thinking they know it all. They are open to new experiences.
They are ordinary people who have looked at life and decided that retirement as strictly the pursuit of leisure is not something they subscribe to. They want more, and they take steps to make it happen. These folks have sharp minds and are willing to share their stories if people are willing to ask questions and listen. And that is what I have set out to do.
Meet “Bonus Years” Hero Mark Myrman
My neighbor Mark Myrman, age 84, of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin is a Bonus Years Hero that I feel fortunate to know and have as a friend. He’s not famous or of international renown, he is just a guy I respect as one of my Wise Elders. He has taught me much by example about what it means to be a hero:
Mark’s guiding philosophy is to do one good deed a day. He is the first one to offer a lending hand to others. He is very active in his church, coordinates service providers for our condominium association, routinely helps his son by mowing the trails on his son’s property and recently helped rebuild his son’s deck, he gathers and disposes of weed and tree cuttings in the neighborhood, he’ll paint the trash buildings when they need it. If you have a condo project to get done you can depend on Mark.
Mark is alive, vibrant, and active in a variety of pursuits. He still goes deer hunting with a cross bow in the dense woods of our home state. He’ll catch crappies in the spring time. He has many more things he would still like to do, and likes to try new things.
Mark is adventurous. His wife, Marcie, is the chairwoman of the 2014 St. Joseph’s Hospital Charity Ball. When Mark learned that the theme of the ball is the Kentucky Derby, he planned a road trip for the two of them to see the famous racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. That way, he said, she could immerse herself in the mood of the place and find inspiration for her planning.
Mark is upbeat. I respect his attitude and how he looks at life and the world. I enjoy being with him because he’s positive and cheerful.
Mark is intelligent and gently confident. I often find myself conferring with him about condominium association business or other matters related to my coaching practice. He is always willing to listen, share his insight, and offer kind words of support without judgment.
We know that living on purpose and “work” is good for the brain and is reported to stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Mark’s doing his part.
How are you doing in your “Bonus Years”?
Are you being vibrant and active in a variety of pursuits?
Do you have any “Bonus Years” Heroes?
Please share your story with the rest of us about how someone 70, 80, or 90 is inspiring you. We’d love to hear from you.