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The Lifeline

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It's Never Too Late...

Featured Photo from It's Never Too Late...

When it comes to finding a new passion to pursue, these local men and women prove there’s no such thing as past your prime.

Bob Cole, 59
IT professional by day – professional musician by night  

A drummer since age five, Lake Mary resident Bob Cole has a passion for music that never wavered even when the responsibilities of adulthood and a flourishing high-tech career took precedent. Today, Bob can be found back at the drums and rocking the mic at local restaurants and bars as a member of the popular cover band, Shadow Cabinet.

Q: What inspired you to pursue music as  an adult?
A: I played for people from the time I was five until I was 23. I kept playing for my own satisfaction at home, but always wanted to get back to performing. I saw Shadow Cabinet open for the B-52’s at the downtown concert series in 2012 and had no idea I’d end up in that band four years later, but it was the perfect timing for this stage in my life.

Q: What do you love most about performing?
A: The thing I love most is the look on someone’s face when we start playing a song they love. Knowing you’ve played a part in creating that excitement is priceless. In Shadow Cabinet, we play mostly 1980s alternative rock, and there are many people who love that music and don’t get to hear it from most cover bands.

Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a musician?
A: For my family to see me happy doing what I love to do. I tried out and made all-star type bands in high school, but  that pales in comparison to hearing from my family that they are proud of what I’m doing.

Q: What would you tell others your age who are considering pursuing a new passion?

 A: Do it while you can. If you know you have it in you, it will gnaw away at your soul if you don’t.

Ruth Del Manzano, 75
Retired graphic designer and active runner
A lifetime athlete, Ruth Del Manzano of Longwood laced up her running shoes in 2006 to begin training for her first triathlon (swimming, cycling, and running) at age 62. After completing eight triathlons, she was ready for a break, and shifted her focus to running. Thirteen years later, now in her mid-70s, Ruth has completed more than 400 races including a full marathon in March.

Q: What do you love most about running?
A: You can be yourself at any age and any speed. Everyone and everybody is welcome.

Q: What do you consider your greatest running achievement?
A: The completion of my first full marathon. In 13 years, I’ve completed around 416 races, ranging from about 28 races in one year to 36 races in another year. These races covered different distances, such as a 5K, 10K, 15K, half marathon, and the full marathon.

Q: How does running benefit your life today?
A: Running and the running community are very special. Words of encouragement like goal, accomplishment, never quit, challenge, motivation, inspiration, positive attitude, camaraderie, support, and friends that are like a family are common daily themes. The natural high and endorphins running provides have boosted my self-confidence and helped me become a stronger person both physically and emotionally. I might start my run with a heavy heart – feeling down, tired, or worried – but after I get on the course and hit my stride, it all goes away!

Q: What would you tell others your age who are considering pursuing a new passion?
A: Age is not a limitation. It is never too late to start a new hobby. Challenge yourself, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you can accomplish!

Michele Niemi, 60 
She teaches private school... and yoga
Persuaded to take her first class by a dear friend, Longwood’s Michele Niemi discovered the life-changing benefits of yoga in 2009 and hasn’t left her mat since. She’s now sharing her love of the practice with others.


Q: What inspired you to pursue yoga asan adult?
A: I have always been active, but doing yoga never crossed my mind. My friend kept on asking me to join her for a class, but I always found an excuse. Finally, she asked me to go as my birthday present to her. I couldn’t say no. I have been hooked ever since!


A: My personal practice is in Kundalini yoga, an ancient practice of body movement, breath, and deep meditation. This practice has helped me to become more physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. I get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning for my own personal asana. Even my husband joins in!

Q: What do you consider your greatest yoga achievement
A: Five years ago, I was certified as a Radiant Child instructor, a program specifically meant for teaching children and teens. I got further certification to teach yoga to kids on the autism spectrum and who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Many kids struggle with anxiety in addition to other special needs. I have seen my students grow so much as they learn to breathe, use good posture, and calm their minds. Yoga has taught so many of them how to relax in stressful situations.

Q: What would you tell others your age who are considering pursuing a new hobby?
A: Don’t be afraid of trying something new. There is a type of yoga for anyone and everyone. Being over 60 doesn’t make people incapable. We need to move and stretch our bodies and minds. We can all be vibrant, active human beings at any age.


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