Once you commit yourself to accomplishing a goal, there's no telling what you can achieve — no matter what stage of life you are in. In fact, late bloomers often sprout the biggest and brightest petals.
While others' aspirations may wilt and fade, those who work hard and commit to their dreams will transform them into lifelong passions, showing there's no right or wrong time to go after what you want.
From models to marathoners, these ten amazing people are living proof it's never too late to accomplish your goals and exceed expectations, including your own.
1. Nicola Griffin started modeling when she was 53 years young.
Nicola Griffin began her second career as a model after she was discovered by White Hot Hair while waiting in line at the bank. She first came on the scene as the poster woman for the company's gray hair products before making headlines as the oldest model to appear in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition in an ad for Swimsuits for All.
Most recently, she proved sexy never gets old in a lingerie shoot for SLiNK magazine. "Women in their 50s and 60s are so used to being ignored and pushed aside in the fashion industry … but things are changing now," she told A Plus in a previous interview. "I feel very honored to be a part of this changing tide in the industry."
2. Life's a marathon, not a sprint ... unless you're 105-year-old track star Hidekichi Miyazaki.
Many retirees enjoy taking up new hobbies, Hidekichi Miyazaki is no exception. His main hobby, however, just happens to be breaking world records in sprinting. After taking up track and field in his 90s, the Japanese centenarian became the oldest competitive sprinter in the 100-meter dash at the Kyoto Masters Athletic Autumn Competition in 2015. He finished the race in an impressive 42.22 seconds, but still pushes himself to do better.
"Today my target was 35 seconds ... I shed tears of disappointment because I was not in good condition. I am not satisfied with today's time," Miyazaki said after the race to Guinness World Records. "But I am satisfied that I could cross finish line." He continues to train — running and even practicing the shot put — every day with these high standards in mind.
3. Neal Unger proves you really can "teach an old dog new tricks" — as long as they're on a skateboard.
Known as "The Dude," Neal Unger is a far cry from the typical skateboarding teen. Born in 1957, Unger began surfing at age nine before eventually transitioning to skateboarding. Now, at 59, he keeps shredding, trying out new tricks, and posting awesome videos to his YouTube channel.
When people told Unger he was "too old" to skateboard, that just motivated him to work harder. Even when he could only do one or two tricks, he kept pushing himself to learn more. "I would skate more because I'd say, 'You can't make me stop. You're not gonna tell me what to do,' " he said in a recent video for Old Skateboards, a German company.
Passing on his life lessons to the next generation of skaters, Unger is currently a volunteer mentor for the Next Up Foundation, which offers community programs to kids and teens in underserved communities.
4. Mark Jordan, 54, knows that, no matter where you are in life, there's nowhere to go but up.
Last year, Mark Jordan set the Guinness World Record for Most Pull-Ups in a 24-hour-period with 4,321. Not only did he beat the previous record by 111 pull-ups, but he did it at age 54. Looking about 20 years younger, Jordan is a testament to the benefits of being dedicated to one's fitness and nutrition.
Determined to meet his goal, Jordan spent a year preparing his body for the feat. "This is about a message that it's important to be able to take care of your health, address your health in many ways, no matter what age you are," Jordan told Huffington Post. "It's never too late to make a difference as far as improving and optimizing your health," he added in a video interview with WFAA, a local news station.
He proves that even the most daunting goal is only out of reach if you believe it is. You can always pull yourself up to meet it — and exceed everyone's expectations while you're at it.
5. Julia Scotti started cracking wise at the ripe young age of 63.
Julia Scotti, a 63-year-old stand-up comedian began her audition for America's Got Talent not with a joke, but with a harrowing declaration: "I want to show people that age has nothing to do with it. You know, you don't stop just because you got gray hair." She wasn't joking around.
After launching into a colorful and hilariously shocking set, filled to the brim with material making fun of her age, she wowed the crowd and the judges. All four voted "yes," and Scotti advanced all the way to the quarterfinals. Since then, she's appeared on Comedy Central and Showtime and also performs regularly in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Reno.
She's not just breaking down barriers as an older comedian, but as a transgender one as well. "For the first 28 years of my life, I was known as Rick Scotti," she told the judges. "So this is big for me."
Her dream has only gotten bigger since — and she's working harder than ever to achieve it. "I'm always surprised when people say that they are too old for this thing or that," she told A Plus. "Here's the way I look at life: If the next time you go to a wake and you aren't lying there in the coffin, you still have time to dream … and do!
"Now if you'll excuse me," she added, "There's this neurosurgery course at the community college I'm just dying to check out."
6. Eighty-year-old Ernestine Shepherd proves age doesn't go before beauty — they go hand in hand.
While Ernestine Shepherd now holds the official title of World's Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder and the unofficial one of world's "Fittest Grandma," she didn't start pumping iron until she was 56. She started exercising with her sister Velvet, and continued to work even harder after her sister passed away unexpectedly.
In 2007, she asked Yohnnie Shambourger (former Mr. Universe) to train her to compete as a bodybuilder. In her first bodybuilding competition, the Natural East Coast Tournament of Champions, she took first place in her class, out posing women years younger.
According to Shepherd's website, she has never been happier or felt more fulfilled. But she knows true health and wellness doesn't just start and stop with herself. She trains other senior women five days a week, inspiring them "to reach their physical potential," just like she did.
7. Deshun Wang first strutted his stuff on the catwalk at 79.
And he did it without wearing a shirt. The former actor made his modeling debut — and countless headlines — when he walked in a fashion show during 2015 China Fashion Week.
In a recent video, Wang discusses his life journey from becoming a 24-year-old actor to stepping into his first gym at age 50. Since then, he's worked hard to achieve the physique that made him famous at China Fashion Week. He continues to exercise at the gym regularly so he can live a long, healthy, and incredibly fashionable life.
"I'm 80 this year, and I still got some left in me," he said in the video. "I still have some dreams to achieve ... When you think it's too late, be careful you don't let that become your excuse for giving up."
8. Sister Madonna Buder, the "Iron Nun," competed in her first triathlon at age 52.
A priest encouraged Sister Buder to take up running at age 47, and she hasn't stopped since.
In 1985, she completed her first Ironman World Championship triathlon at age 65. Ten years later, she became the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman. If that world record wasn't enough, she set another one by becoming the oldest person to ever complete an Ironman triathlon when she was 82. By that time, her dedication and perseverance more than earned her the title of "Iron Nun."
Most recently, Buder was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2014. Now at age 86, Buder still pushes herself to pursue her dreams every chance she gets. "There were a lot of times I had to think about failures and not reaching the goal that I may have set for myself," she said in a recent promotional video for Nike. "Then I realized, the only failure is not to try." She practices what she preaches by running to church and biking 40 miles to swim in a lake near her home every day.
9. Fit at 54, male model Irving Randle isn't too old to #StealYourGrandma.
This past July, Irving Randle became an instant internet sensation after a friend posted his pictures to Twitter and the trending topic #MrStealYourGrandma emerged.
A dedicated gym-goer and go-getter, Randle attributes his youthful physique and dapper style to a lifelong appreciation of men's fashion. "My first magazine was GQ magazine." he told Inside Edition."I would say, I wanna dress just like that person and so I pretty much kept that style."
He proves determination never gets old and self-confidence goes with everything.
10. Johanna Quaas just turned 90, and is still defying gravity.
In 2012, the Guinness Book of World Records named Johanna Quaas the world's oldest active gymnast at age 86. Quaas became internet famous after videos of her performance at the Turnier der Meister in Cottbus, Germany went viral with nearly four million views on YouTube. She was awarded her world record after winning the German Senior Citizen Championships 11 times.
Besides diving between the parallel bars, she also completed a sky dive in honor of the Queen of England's 90th birthday this past June. Quaas also turned 90 this year, though you'd never know it by looking at her — or any of the amazing things she's done. "I want to show today, in real life, that, even at 90, a person can still parachute jump," she told The Telegraph. But what she showed more than anything is that no dream is out of reach.
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