Written by on Thursday, December 11, 2014
Dorothy Custer, a 103-year-old resident of Twin Falls, Idaho, is being recognized by Ripley's in the new book "Shocking Reality!" What did Custer do to deserve the recognition? She BASE jumped from an almost 500-foot high bridge on her 102nd birthday!
Custer made the tandem leap with professional jumper Sean Chuma last May from the I.B. Perrine Bridge in her hometown of Twin Falls. Other extreme sports the senior has done during her active retirement include zip-lining over Snake River Canyon on her 101st birthday and taking a hot air balloon ride with Chuma when she turned 103 this year.
This is not the first time Custer has been recognized by people in the media. She's also appeared on Jay Leno's evening talk show twice, in 2011 and 2012. The inspiring senior has since gained a following of fans who refer to her as "Grandma."
Custer, who still lives independently with her cat Shadow, says that staying active every day is a big part of her retirement lifestyle.
"I wake up every morning wondering, 'What can I do today?'" Custer told Magicvalley.com. "I'm still looking for my purpose."
Custer was born in Twin Falls in 1911 and began teaching high school when she was 21. When she was turning 100, an associate producer of Jay Leno who also grew up in Twin Falls heard about it. He invited her to be on the show, where she quickly charmed Leno and his audience. A video of her appearance went viral, allowing her to inspire thousands with her wit and positive attitude.
What's Dorothy Custer's message?
Custer proves that staying active and optimistic are key ways to flourish, no matter how old you are. The senior exercises daily, plays the harmonica and lives alone despite her age. In fact, she says she never even thinks about how old she is.
"You know, I think it's too bad so many people get older and think 'Oh, I feel bad,'" Custer told Boise, Idaho, news station KTVB. "You don't think of that, you look forward, you don't think about it. I have no time for that. I don't think of age, I don't think I'm this old. I've had a wonderful life, I've had more fun than anybody could have had."
Custer's attitude should inspire those who live in active retirement communities. Seniors who choose to be happy and healthy, and continue to dream big, are the ones who flourish the most.