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Test your English: Is Age Just a Number?

Text: Joanne Edwards

Fotos: MasterSergeant - stock.adobe.com, Porträt: www.kaindl-hoenig.com

Doesn’t time fly? The older we get, the faster time goes by. When you are a small child you can’t wait to grow up and do the things that older children do, like going to ”big school“, walking to school on your own or staying over at a friend’s house for the very first time. It is all so exciting. When you are a teenager you can’t wait to grow up and be allowed to drink alcohol, get into the cinema to see a film which has been classified for over 16s or drive your parents’ car. You can’t wait to come of age and do everything without your parents’ permission. Then you reach your twenties when you try to find yourself. That is why many of us did a lot of crazy things at this age. I know I certainly did, but some things are best kept secret. Your thirties are usually a time to settle down in your job and maybe start your own family. Then comes one milestone birthday after another and there is absolutely no reason to wish you were older. By the time you are 60, it is time to think about retirement and time really flies by.
However, this is nothing to fear. Many people who are well over 70 are extremely fit. Times have changed since the brilliant Paul McCartney wrote and composed the catchy song ”When I’m 64“ back in the late 1960s. In those days, 64 was considered ancient and the words ”Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four?“ – were quite appropriate. Many women were content to knit a sweater beside the fireside, while men found mowing the lawn or weeding the garden could be quite exhausting and enough exercise for the whole week.
Not these days. Most of my friends, who are well over 60, are extremely fit. They participate in marathons, can ski as well as any 30 year old, cycle for just as long as a younger person and go hiking for hours on end. Others take trips to the Antarctic, India, Kilimanjaro and visit tribes in the outback of Africa, on their own.
Some people fulfil their life-long ambitions when they are older. Like the long-distance swimmer, Diana Nyad, who, at the age of 64, became the first person to swim 180km from Cuba to Florida, without a shark cage! She first tried it when she was 28, but only completed 122km.
So why did she succeed this time, after her fifth attempt? Medical science is slowly starting to realise that age is just a number and the secret behind the success and endurance of any great sportsperson, is attitude, determination and resilience. When the courageous Diana staggered on to the Florida beach, after a 53-hour non-stop swim, she said ”We should never give up; you are never too old to chase your dreams“. I just ask myself; why would anyone in their right mind want to swim 180km in shark and poisonous jellyfish infested waters? So, it is comforting to know that endurance can improve with age – even when you are over 64.

doesn’t time fly – wie die Zeit vergeht
to come of age – erwachsen werden
permission – Erlaubnis
a milestone birthday – ein runder Geburtstag
retirement – Pension
however – allerdings
to fear – fürchten
a catchy song – ein Ohrwurm
in those days – damals
to consider someone ancient - jemanden für uralt halten
appropriate – angemessen content – zufrieden
to knit – stricken
beside the fireside – am Kamin
to mow the lawn – den Rasen mähen
to weed the garden – den Garten jäten
exhausting – erschöpfend
to exercise – Sport betreiben
to participate – teilnehmen
hiking – wandern

for hours on end – stundenlang
to fulfil – erfüllen
life-long ambition – lebenslanges Streben
shark cage – Haikäfig
to succeed – erfolgreich sein
attempt – Versuch
medical science – die medizinische Wissenschaft
endurance – Ausdauer
attitude – Einstellung
determination – Entschlossenheit
resilience – Belastbarkeit
courageous – mutig
to stagger – taumeln
to chase your dreams – deinen Träumen nachjagen
in their right mind – bei vollem Verstand, bei Sinnen
poisonous - giftig
jellyfish – Quallen
infested – verseucht
comforting – beruhigend
to improve with age – mit dem Alter besser werden