Forget how old you are

'Forget how old you are,' is Shirley Kaplan's advice to anyone over 50. At the age of 82 Shirley is more active than most 20 year-olds and way more adventurous than anyone you might meet. From hiking the Antarctic to climbing Table Mountain or waterskiing along rivers, it's all in a day's fun for the unstoppable Shirley.
'The other day I went up the mountain with a guy who is 81. He has a Harley Davidson and runs a sailing academy, yet people who regard themselves as old, just don't do things like that,' says Shirley who challenges the mainstream notion of what 'old' means. 'So often people say I'm too old to do this or that but it's not true. I have proven it.' Having a penchant for the mountains and the outdoors, Shirley was delighted when she moved to Cape Town with her husband in the early years of their marriage. Hiking is something she does on an almost daily basis. In fact, exercise is what she attributes her enthusiasm and youth to. 'It's like a religion, I cannot do anything until I have exercised. That is what has kept me going.' Shirley believes it should be everyone's priority to exercise and keep supple. She has set an example that has infected her children and grandchildren (she has three children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren); all of them head into nature on a regular basis. Growing up consisted of camping and hiking. 'We didn't have a lot of money but would head off to Muizenberg and stay in a caravan during holidays so we could rent our house out. With the money we made from this we would go overseas. We went sailing in Greece, we went to China and walked the great wall; we went to Morocco and slept in the desert. We skied in the mountains. Our lifestyle was proof that you can still have children, run a business and go on adventures. I would love to see more people do it', says Shirley. Talking about how old you are and how creaky your joints are doesn't cut it for the energetic 82 year-old who swears by keeping your bones strong with weight training. Twice a week she heads off to the Kranking Fitness Studio and lifts 4kgs per arm. It's exceptionally good for older people. Luckily we have one kranking gym in Cape Town. Besides camping and running up mountains Shirley has an amazing career in the Interior Design World. She started at a time when interior design didn't exist as a profession. Many milestones and accolades are attributed to Shirley in the Interior Design world, including being the first person to import tiles into the country. If you need inspiration to not fear ageing follow Shirley's example and simply 'forget how old you are'. did you know? Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, (author of The Science of Belief) specialises in epigenetics: the study of how environment and life choices influence and change your genetic code. Dr. Lipton refers to consciously activating your DNA through the simple act of thinking. When you think, 'I'm too old for this,' or feel unhappy with ageing signs, you enable those thoughts to manifest. Ageing has many unconscious beliefs that are avoidable if you practice conscious youthing.

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