I had seen her before. I saw her last week when I was in the gym doing cardio, and there she was again.

She had her routine down as she moved from machine to machine, diligently maintaining her strength and fitness.

Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I boldly approached her.

( A move that shocked my mother because it is so out of character for me.)

I just had to know –

“Excuse me,” I hesitantly dared to interrupt, “Do you mind me asking how old you are?”

You see, I have spent the past twenty-plus years striving to be a role model for young women, but the older I get, the more difficult it is to find them for myself. Women who are facing what I face and keep fighting. Women who don’t give up and definitely don’t settle! Women who push through, dig deep and persevere, but even more than that –

Women that stand out from the crowd because they are going the extra mile!

She was more than happy to engage in conversation with me.

It turns out that she is 86!!!

She was a joy to talk to and even more inspiring than I could  have imagined.

Physically she was where I hoped to be at her age. She defied illness by diligently taking care of her body, eating right and coming to the gym faithfully for over a decade.

Thank goodness, I have a head start!

When her doctor forewarned her of imminent ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis and the accompanying medications, she got another opinion.

Her new doctor encouraged her with what is now a healthy lifestyle.

And she encouraged me!

Climbing stairs keeps her limber, doing dishes keeps her fingers pliable, and of course her girlish figure is maintained by working on those valuable muscles.

Did I mention she also lost several pounds of unhealthy body fat by merely changing her eating habits?

The advice she gave me wasn’t rocket science. The difference was, she really did it! so many times we know what to do, we just don’t.

She didn’t equate retirement with being inactive.

She may not remember me tomorrow, but I will never forget her.

To me, her name is “Hope”;

Hope for the future,

Hope to achieve my goals,

Hope to conquer those unpleasant tasks,

Hope to be a role model for decades to come!

She is a great reminder that life may get more difficult, but it is not impossible.

“Hope” motivated me to tell the world just because someone tells you something is imminent doesn’t mean you can’t try everything in your power to change it.

Because of Hope, I will try harder, run farther, eat better, be bolder, love deeper

and never quit trying

because a whole generation is watching just waiting to give up and quit running.

Working out that day was very hard and tedious to me, I wanted to quit

until I saw “HOPE”.

Where do you need Hope in your life today?

Maybe we can do this together!