Taking the age-old adage that you’re never too old to try something new to heart, a Rockingham grandmother took the ultimate leap of faith. Lois Keys celebrated her eightieth birthday with a skydive last week, landing on the stunning backdrop of Rockingham Beach in Western Australia.
The grandma-of-four jumped out a plane at 14,000 feet along with her instructor, Leo Mango of Skydive Rockingham, for a tandem jump. A tandem skydive is the most recommended way by skydiving professionals to experience an inaugural jump since the novice jumper is connected to a certified skydiving instructor at all times.
The pair are joined by a four-point harness and use a parachute that is specifically designed for two. During a tandem skydive, the instructor takes care of all the important stuff while the jumper gets to take in all the amazing scenery. Tandem skydiving has become increasingly popular in Australia and is enjoyed by both locales and tourists alike.
Keys isn’t a stranger to flying high. The grandmother has enjoyed hot air balloon and helicopter rides in the past. However, skydiving has always been something she wanted to try.
“It was something I had in the back of my mind because I think we’ve got to stretch ourselves a bit when we get older,” Keys said in an interview with The West Australian.
“I wasn’t the least bit nervous, but it’s quite an experience doing a tumble out of the plane,” Keys continued. “The first bit is very overwhelming, but once you start to glide you get a very good view of Rockingham.”
Many times skydivers get their first taste of the adrenalin high of skydiving and can’t wait to try it again. So, would Keys make the 14,000 feet jump again?
“I’ve done it now and that’s great but I wouldn’t do it again, it knocked me flat for the rest of the day,” she said in the interview.
While she may not step out of an airborne plane again, the senior isn’t quite ready to give up trying new things.
“I’m old, but I’m not dead — so it’s good to be able to push yourself to do these things,” Keys continued. “It’s really important to think positive, take on new adventures and don’t let life get you down. Keeping yourself young is a mental thing.”
While scientists haven’t discovered a fountain of youth, they continue to explore ways in which people can stay vital way into their 80s and beyond. A British study released in 2016 identified 50 ways in which to keep yourself “young at heart.” At the top of the list was Key’s suggestion. Number two on the list was to never believe that age has to interfere with trying something new.
Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Study after study has proven that Ford’s philosophy like Keys’ is right on the money.