Dromen volgen! Andrea Peterson startte op haar 61 (!) en na het overlijden van haar man en soulmate met een opleiding tot brandweervrouw! Haar ultieme droom van toen ze jong was. Zo goed als iedereen was tégen.

In haar les zat ze tussen gasten van 18 – 21 jaar oud die haar amper een blik waardig gunde of eraan dachten haar aan te moedigen. Het was geen leuke periode, vertelt ze. De training was hard maar ze deed àlles.

Familileden vroegen of ze helemaal aan het doordraaien: “why don’t you grow up and act your age? What are you doing it for?”

Blijven geloven in jezelf. Ook al staat er niemand achter of naast je die in je gelooft.

Ze trok er zich niets van aan en zette door. Het is een verhaal dat je bij je nekvel grijpt en je alleen maar kan inspireren om je dromen te volgen. Lees het hieronder:

“I didn’t have a great deal of support. But I wanted it so damn bad! I wasn’t going to give up no matter what. This was one and only chance to reach for a dream and actually get it.

I totally ignored the fact that I was little, female, older. I was a firefighter-in-training. It was the hardest physical anything I have ever had to do, and that includes professional ballet. I was studying for hours every single night because the written test were just as tough as the physical tests.

Whatever they needed us to do, I made sure I was the first to volunteer, the first to try something.

I never climbed ladders, other than a stepladder in my own home!

But I was the first one up that two-story roof ladder!

I passed all the written tests with very good grades. At the end of the course, we had a very intensive practical exam, putting out real fires in a “burn building.” Then we had an extremely difficult written exam, which has 100 scary questions; you need to get 70 to pass. I thought there was no way in heck I could’ve passed this, so I asked a very kind-hearted instructor when I could make it up.

“I know you and I’m sure you passed. We’ll go over it together. You read me your answer and I’ll tell you if it’s right or wrong.”

I didn’t keep track but after awhile he said, “Do you realize you’re up to number 87 and you only need 70 to pass?”

I collapsed in a heap at his feet. I was crying! I thought, “Oh no, I shouldn’t be doing this because it isn’t professional” but It was better than my wedding day! It was the happiest day of my life.

After instructors gave me some words of encouragement, they playfully shoved me out of the room, symbolically shoving me into my future career. It was a 50-mile drive home. I remember laughing and shrieking and singing all the way home.

I bought a big armload of flowers because that’s what my husband would’ve done.

I got some champagne and stayed up all night calling and emailing friends and family.

I was 66 years old when I received my firefighter certification, which supposedly made me the oldest person, or at least oldest female ever, to achieve the certification in the state, and possibly in all of New England.

Why in heaven’s name was this my calling?

Something so nearly impossibly difficult, that there were young men who couldn’t do this? I’ll never know. I know I’m not going to be able to do this forever, and that breaks my heart. I worry a little when I get too old — will I still have the courage and determination to move forward? [But] I did get my dream and to this day I still don’t believe it.”

Tot zover haar mooie verhaal. Wij kennen heel veel Wifties die na hun 50/55 een carrière switch plannen én uitvoeren. Maar op je 61 er nog aan beginnen … dat verdient enorm veel r.e.s.p.e.c.t.

Hoe lang ze het heeft volgehouden weten we niet precies. Maar ze wist dat het ook geen jaren meer zou zijn en dat stemde haar een beetje droef. Herlees laatste paragraaf van het interview Met Andrea Peterson dat ze aan Huffingtonpost gaf toen ze 68 was. Maar ach, maakt het veel uit?

Bron: Huffington Post