The Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported today about Mr Halis Beyhanoğlu, who graduated from elementary school in 1938 and just received his second university diploma in September at the age of 86. After being a civil servant for most of his life, he finally received a degree in public adminstration, so he now apparently has the choice of returning to work as the country's oldest bureaucrat, or staying in school as the oldest grad student. He says he wants to be a lecturer someday, so we wish him well (link).
This reminds me of a story a few years ago about an 84-year-old man who enrolled in first grade in Kenya as soon as the country began to provide free universal education, unashamed to sit among six-year-olds so that he might gain what had been deprived for so long. (click here for the rest of that story).
Both stories impact me for the brazenness of these gentlemen to pursue learning beyond society's limits of propriety. A couple years ago I shared on this blog the quote of a woman in her 90s who had not been so brazen: "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken up the violin at 60. I'd have been playing for almost 40 years by now."
We --that is, I-- forgo so many endeavors because we are unaware of what is within us, how much endurance we carry, and the power of the victory over society's often silly ideas. So today I remind myself to pick up once again the aspirations that were within me and rekindle them, even if it is with the tiniest of sparks. So what if I'm past 50? Just think where I'll be in 40 years!