When Arlyne Frankel retired at the age of 79, she considered getting another job. She’d always assumed she would work until the day she died, but instead, she took stock of her life and decided to pursue her dreams.
First, the divorced single mother and grandmother celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ceremony that usually happens around a child’s thirteenth birthday. She’s always wanted one, but wasn’t able to when she was a teen, so she finally had hers at 80-years old. At her Bat Mitzvah, she announced her plan to accomplish her other dream of getting a college degree.
Frankel had started college at 18 in 1954, but wasn’t able to finish, so she enrolled at Florida International University at the age of 80. She took five years to complete her program and graduated with honors this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. Now the octogenarian is launching a new career as a motivational speaker to be a cheerleader for anyone who thinks they’re too old to do something new. “If you can breathe and think, then it’s not too late,” she says.