In this light, my 47-year-old self, the one who made that list of alarming signs of impending dotage, was falling into some predictable mental traps.

Something weird happens to a lot of us around midlife. We suddenly stop trying stuff. Not because we can’t do it, necessarily, but because we imagine we can’t. Studies show people’s interest in any given task peaks when the risk of failing at it is around 50 per cent. And from around age 30 on the odds of failing at “it,” whatever it is, seems to tip in favour of the house. So we opt out. And our horizons shrink.

That fear of failure also ages us. We stop putting our whole heart into life – and the moment half-heartedness becomes a habit, something dies in us.

Olga doesn’t fail much, but her willingness to keep putting herself in positions where she could fall flat, very publicly, was one of the biggest differences between us.

In the end, her attitude was so infectious it penetrated my defences. And that’s when the dynamic between us changed. I stopped merely observing her remarkable story, and stepped into it.

Read the full original article via What a 94-year-old track star can teach us about aging – The Globe and Mail.