As she approached her milestone birthday of 50, Deborah Chambers (more commonly known as Deborah Darling to her tens of thousands of Instagram followers), felt like she was ready for a change. She says she lost the extra weight she had been carrying around for years, got fit (even competing in quite a few events) left her job of 20-odd years, stopped coloring her hair and, at 53, registered with a modelling agency.
Deborah says, “I have had some wonderful modelling jobs, but more importantly it has given me a wonderful opportunity to spread the word that we are never too old and it's never too late.”
Kyle and Lil also talk a bit about the event of swimming including a brand new venue that the Games will use this year.
Kyle Case 0:05
Hellow and welcome to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. My name is Kyle Case and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in our studio today is my co pilot Lil Baron
Lil Barron 0:25
Hey Kyle, how are you
Kyle Case 0:29
I'm good I'm good, how about yourself good, we passed another milestone we did the Huntsman World Senior Games this week just yesterday. He surpassed 7000 registered athletes.
Lil Barron 0:42
Oh my goodness. Awesome.
Kyle Case 0:44
So we're well on our way to what looks like it could be a record year we've, we've registered several 100, people ahead of where we were in 2019, which is of course you'll remember the last time. The games were took a timeout in 2020 Like the rest of the world. Today I thought it might be fun to highlight one of our 35 different sports, okay. And over the past few months, we've talked about some of the new sports that we're adding this year like baci indoor rowing where I began talking about all those today I thought it might be fun to briefly highlight one of the OG sports, the original gangster.
Lil Barron 1:26
Kyle Case 1:30
Let's talk a bit about swimming. So Swimming was actually added to begins in 1988, which is the second air resistance the game started in 1987 1988 we have been swimming. Over the years we've had really the privilege to work with a number of different sports directors, incidentally, our directors are the people who actually run the tournament aspects of the sport. They recruit other volunteers They're volunteers themselves they find officials, local venues timers that whole thing currently Jan house has up our swimming crew she has an amazing job, And also, over the years we've hosted some former Olympians, so at the events like Graham Johnston, who represented South Africa in 1952 Olympic Games. Do you know where the 1952 Games were held.
Lil Barron 2:20
I have no idea
Kyle Case 2:21
I didn't either.
I did look it up it was in Helsinki, Finland. So anyway, we've had others like Graham. Every year we set new records like in 2019. The last time we had the games, Clark Mitchell from Overton Nevada set several swimming records, including the 50 meter backstroke the 100 meter backstroke, this isn't the 85 to 89 year old age group. And here's the thing, cart is 89 this year. So next year he'll be able to shoot for records at a whole new age group because we do five year age groups, as Susan a group from Texas we've had before, she broke the record last time in 2019 for the 50 meter freestyle in the 60 to 64 age group. Her time was 31 point 31 seconds, which is pretty quick.
The longest standing record that we have or at least that I could find, is a record that was set way back in 1999. So, it's, yeah, this is the women's 8589 age group, the 200 meter backstroke set by Jeanne Thurston of California with a tag of five minutes, 17.41 seconds. So if you think that you could be that time. Yeah, the record has been there for a long time but
Lil Barron 3:35
it's hard to do that with like jacket on football and swimming.
Kyle Case 3:42
The range of motion.
Lil, as you well know, in addition to the record breakers, every year we have athletes who maybe they swam in high school they took some time off some people even take some significant time off or maybe they've never really sweated before but it looks like fun, and they decide to jump into the pool and they'd have a fantastic time at the games as well. One last thing that I'll mention quickly this year 2021 The year that we come back from the pandemic. We're gonna be swimming in a brand new pool. It's awesome, it's exciting, it's very new and when I say brand new, brand new brand new ice. It's a brand new pool. The pool at Dixie State University, Human Performance Center is beautiful, it's like sized swimming pool. It's got a moveable bulkhead, we're still going to swim short course which means that we swim 25 meters, but you don't want to miss the chance to help break into this pool, there have been a couple of competitions but just, just a couple of competitions, brand new everything just sparkle still, you can see a photo of the pool on our swimming page, seeing your Game Stop mad, and it is just gorgeous. And we're excited so so many is your thing where if you'd like to find out if it's your thing, you can register today at seniorgames.net. Today's guest Lil
Lil Barron 5:04
I'm so excited.
Kyle Case 5:06
Deborah chambers, more commonly known as Deborah darling, to her 10s of 1000s of Instagram followers is going to be joining us. She is currently 59 years old and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, just like Graham Johnson Yes, Deborah says she makes some big changes around her 50th birthday. She says that she lost the extra weight that she'd been carrying around for a few years got fit even competed in a few events. She left her job of some 20 years and started, excuse me, she stopped coloring your hair at 53 She registered with a modeling agency. Deborah says, I've had some wonderful moment jobs but more importantly, it has given me a wonderful opportunity to spread the word that we are never too old, and it is never too late. Ever Welcome
Deborah Darling 5:56
Thank you for inviting me.
Kyle Case 5:59
We're excited to visit with you know and as we were saying off the air we love this message of it's never too old never arrived late. That is just a message that really resonates throughout our entire event and we we meet people all the time that that surpass and break these barriers, you know they're not interested in ageism, they're interested in living their best life and trying new things so they want to do. You're a poster child for that ride
Deborah Darling 6:26
Kyle Case 6:29
I want to ask you though you mentioned in your we mentioned your bio that you've competed in multiple events, I'm wondering what is your sport.
Deborah Darling 6:38
Well, I did. I am a swimmer I was a swimmer at school and I did a little bit of swimming in my 40s I've done quite a few midmar miles I don't know if you know the Midmar mile I think it's one of the biggest open water events actually held here every year hasn't been for the last two years. It's obviously a mile
Kyle Case 6:58
south africa's famous for Great White sharks.
Deborah Darling 7:01
No, it's an it's an it's a dam. I've got quite a few more medals that that was the only thing I did, I sort of hold myself off the couch every year and swim the mile. And I didn't do anything else I really was the original couch potato. And then when I, when I had my sort of fixed switch around 50 I started really sort of very small I started walking in the morning to for work and then a friend said, Come and try riding a bicycle and I hadn't ridden a bicycle since I was about 12, but I've got an A bike, and it's like being a child again it's such a lovely experience. So I did, actually the added to the code 94.7 challenges here with an article quick seven kilometres. And also, one of the biggest cycling events, I think, I think, I think I don't think it's in Africa and a little bit too huge. So I've competed to both. And then I joined them together with a little bit of a stumble and I did. I did an Olympic distance triathlon. That was the sort of highlight of my career. Since then I've done, I do sprint events when, when they are they're not on at the moment but I tried to do a couple of sprint events a year to keep my hand in tears at work, but it's quite manageable. So yeah, so two the three the three things that I think are probably swimming's probably must have was I had to choose one.
Kyle Case 8:35
Well, it sounds like, like you say, I stumbled off the couch and swam. Both most of us will never actually achieve swimming, a mile, it's a lot longer than you think.
Deborah Darling 8:49
Yeah, you're swiping away when you stand on the side of the dam and you look across at the other spot to everyone's getting out and it's tiny, you realize that first day how far it is.
Kyle Case 9:00
Yeah, so I had that experience I did one Olympic distance triathlon as well years ago and when I stood on the side of the bank and they were explaining the course, it was actually an out and back course and flip the buoy. They have a sprint setup, they reference the buoy that I thought they were talking to for my group, but then I realized they were not talking about that when they were talking about the tiny little pinprick of an only buoy. That was way, way on the other side of the lake and when I got out there that was like a 10 foot buoy. I've got to get a lot of backstroke.
Deborah Darling 9:43
Yeah, it's pretty scary when you standing in the water's edge, that's for sure.
Kyle Case 9:50
So when you say you do sprint events you're talking sprint triathlons,
Deborah Darling 9:53
yes yeah, which is wonderful. We do believe it's a sprint is just, it's a keep you fit and keeps your sort of eye on the ball as it were but they're not too daunting to train for I find no it's so true and I say that
Kyle Case 10:12
I tell us to everybody a lot of people are intimidated by a triathlon because they think Ironman, and, and that's an incredible feat. That is something a sprint has much shorter distances, they're very doable it's very accessible, and yet still challenging enough to keep you going and as you said keep you fit and keep your hand,
Deborah Darling 10:32
You get a medal, which is lovely.
Lil Barron 10:41
I like her. It's why we do 5K's.
Kyle Case 10:50
You mentioned you kind of alluded to this, this switch if you will where you, you kind of are going along in your life like most of us kind of just going along, and you decided hey there's, there's something more for me out there I'm, I'm curious how you arrived at that aha moment. And then what you did to actually make it happen. Instead of just thinking about it, like many of us tend to do.
Deborah Darling 11:14
I think the year leading up to my 50th birthday I was sort of the birthday was looming, because I think in our society, you know, we've got this, this idea that once you're 50 it's kind of all over for you. I had that sort of gloomy feeling about it but then year. Two very sad things happened I lost my much younger sister, she was 12 years older than me, so she was in her late 30s, and a very dear friend within the same two week periods so when you think gloomy about turning 50 And you tell us to close people and one was much younger, it does give you pause for thought. And I think that was the start of a shift for me about feeling that I was very pretty feeling privileged to be here and lucky to be going to be turning 50 And I started to have a heavy mind sort of change of mind about everything and then I, that's when I started my fitness journey, as it were. And it all sort of escalated from there I gave up my job and I went overseas to work for a few months and let my hair be silver and just really changed a lot of things I think just decided to embrace my age and realizing that it wasn't too late and it's really nonsense what we're told. 50 is actually just a puppy really.
Kyle Case 12:47
You know it's so interesting that the World Senior Games. The earliest that you can compete in the event is 50. And like you said, that is a milestone it's a milestone for, no matter where you're coming from, it's just, it's a significant one. And we get both sides of the coin, you know we have some people who are so excited to turn 50 They're finally able to compete in the world waiting all these years and now they're able, and then we have others who are like fighting it, you know, and they don't want to be designated as a senior athlete and and whatnot but, but regardless, there are so many opportunities that are available to you after you turn 50 You absolutely, whether it's sports or otherwise of course we're focused on the sport aspect but there are so many other things that are available, it definitely does not need to be an end it absolutely can be a beginning.
Deborah Darling 13:37
Absolute and I think I feel younger now than I did in the army my 60th year now. I'm in my 60th year, and then I feel younger now than I did when I was in my 50th year so I've done so many things and I've grown so much, and I'm really looking forward to be 60 at the end of the year.
Kyle Case 14:04
I want to touch, just briefly on this modeling aspects. Again, you know, just, just society but rather think of models we don't think of 50 year old people we're always thinking of the younger people talk a little bit about how you got into it but also how you kind of overcame whatever insecurities that you may have felt about moving forward there.
Deborah Darling 14:26
Well, the reason I registered with an agency is because, because everybody seemed to love myself hair. I've got it from my mum so I had these really weird things happening where people wanted to take my photograph and wanted to, you know, talk to me in the street and it was all about my hair really so, and some friends said why don't you try and modeling and I didn't think anything would come of it at all but anyway I said my photographs off one night I always say to people you should never leave a brandy alone with an internet connection and never know what they'll do. So, this granny sent my pictures off to an agency and she phoned me said, Come and see me and I've had quite a, quite a lot of modeling work, and a friend said to me, you need to put your photographs on Instagram and I didn't know what Instagram was then so that was about seven years ago I think it wasn't as big as it is now. And I did think that it was kind of a repository just somewhere that I could put my photographs and I was gathering. And so I thought I didn't know how it works I was trying to work out what the hashtags meant and how it all went and I started to get all these followers and I'd get quite a lot of followers. Well I mean when I say a lot, you know, a couple hundred and three and 400. And then I started to have people reaching out to me like an Australian magazine was I think the first one that reached out and said, please can we interview you or something. And I realized that it was, it wasn't really about the modeling so much as the message that was that it's never too late and that I was an older, but clearly older woman in my mid 50s with silver hair, and that I was doing a new thing. And so it wasn't required but the switch came that I realized that my job became to, that's, you know, to try and inspire women and to encourage them and that's that's become the job. So the modeling it. It helped me to, to get then it's a lovely. It's a lovely support for that. But my main job I think is, is actually encouraging women and spreading that message so just never too late and we're never too old. Modeling aspect is more of a means to more importantly in the San Jose. Yes. What happened, inadvertently, so you have had an opportunity and a platform really through social media and other opportunities to spread that message it's, you're never too old, it's never too late.
Kyle Case 17:04
I'm wondering if you have an experience where you have seen the result of this messaging come full circle maybe run into somebody that felt inspired or.
Deborah Darling 17:21
I spend lots of time on my social media every day, and I get messages that literally bring tears to my eyes, because women are feeling so bad about themselves, you know, and I think it starts very young, even before with 30, we start looking in the mirror and berating ourselves because oh my goodness look at my wrinkles and look at my best and look at my left, so I get a lot of messages or emails from women saying that, I've got a new perspective and I've changed my job, or I've joined a gym or whatever it is you know that it's, I get such a lot of positive feedback. And that's, and that's, that's what makes it worthwhile. It's an absolutely. It's just such a shame that we feel bad about ourselves. Yeah. Ah, and it starts early, you know, apparently even teenagers go to heaven. I don't know needling and all sorts of things on their face. To find the signs of aging and my message is that signs of aging are our story they're a beautiful story of our beautiful lives, and to take them away to me it's just a tragedy and it's such a privilege, such a privilege to be growing older and to have wrinkles. Do the best the messaging there is, you learn those right through life's experience and the journey that useful smooth skin is not the only measure of beauty, there's so many others.
Kyle Case 18:53
And so many measures that we can't see as well. The way a person conducts themselves the way they serve their fellow man so so many great things that, that are not so apparent that they're absolutely, that are maybe even much more important in some ways,
Lil Barron 19:10
I just followed her on Instagram,
Kyle Case 19:17
I started following you, a little while ago, and I love your messaging that not only, not only are you being positive, but you're just very sincere, like, No, there's no pretense, it's just, this is me this is who I am and I love me and I think that's a, that's a message that really needs to be out there.
Lil Barron 19:34
And all of us women could hear that and learn to live that too so thank you. Yeah.
Kyle Case 19:49
All right, you mentioned, around the age of 50 that you left a job that you, you know, had done for 20 Some years that had to have been a little nerve racking. So talk about how you decided that it was time for a change, professionally as well as in some of these other physical fitness and other areas that you've talked about.
Deborah Darling 20:08
I didn't know what would happen with the job at all I mean I didn't envisage this different life now. It was quite fair I left my job I left the company that I worked for was a company of mostly women, so it was a lovely supportive environment. And, and I knew that to make a proper break I had to I had to really just do it and resign and I actually rented my flat out to someone for six months and I went off to England, bought a plane ticket so there was no going back. And I actually went and did carrying work for a few months in England develops after, when one lady for most of the time, she was 92, and it was also a lovely and very interesting and lovely experience, because we got on like a house on fire, she and I, we had a we, we developed a very sweet, friendship, and I enjoy spending all that time with her, you realize that that she that she was beautiful, didn't have, you know, the fact that she was 92. That's one thing I like with people. I really don't like people say that she's still beautiful I really that's not a compliment. I helped her setting her hair and putting her rouge on there, she called it, and then she was even she was lovely and he realized that she's got stories and we've all of those stories we've all been in love and broken hurt and we've all had losses so I think that kind of maybe what sort of cemented that idea for me that we're all the same. So it's I was in England for a while and then I came back and that's by then, my hair was fully silver and it started to get tall and it just came after that. So, I did work for because I worked in the IT space before I was a technical writer and software tester and those kinds of things. So I came back I did actually have another job in front it company briefly until this craziness started.
Kyle Case 22:16
Well that's wonderful, I think, you know as much as anybody that we've talked to certainly you, you are an example of just pushing forward and embracing all that life has to offer. You know sometimes we look at the negative things and, and there's plenty out there, don't get me wrong, there's plenty out there and this is, you know this COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taught us that. But in the midst of all that there's also lots of wonderful beautiful amazing things about life that we can share with each other and if you have the choice, why not share the positive right. Well that's, that's just fantastic again we love your message, oh I was gonna ask you do you, was, was Graham Johnson, someone that you were familiar with. It's okay if you've never heard of him but
Deborah Darling 23:07
The name is rings a bell, but no, sorry,
Kyle Case 23:13
I got to know Graham just flew to games and just what a what a joy of a human being he just a wonderful person so I just I wondered if there I mean obviously, you know, South Africa. But being a swimmer, I just wondered if that was a connection with you. Anyway, Deborah, thank you so much for joining. We've run out of time but we have to speak with you but wonderful message, yeah never too old or too late I love it. Keep spreading it and we'll keep spreading it on this site.
Deborah Darling 23:44
So much for, for having me on the show,
Lil Barron 23:47
And definitely look her up and see her beautiful hair.
Kyle Case 23:50
Yeah and her beautiful message as well. Absolutely. So, really briefly, they can follow you on Instagram, it is, how did they find you there,
Deborah Darling 24:01
I'm Debra Darling, all over the place, if you just type Deborah darling you'll find me everywhere.
Lil Barron 24:09
Yeah, that's how I found her on the internet.
Kyle Case 24:12
Take a look and follow give her a follow as you listen to that wonderful message. Anyway, hopefully someday when things calm down with a pandemic we'll have you come around our triathalon here at the World Senior Games. I love that
Deborah Darling 24:30
Kyle Case 24:32
We'll Oh my goodness. Very good. Let me quickly share just a couple of things I mentioned at the beginning of the show and talked about so mega registration is open, we passed 7000 registered athletes, you can register right now. It's available at senior games.net You can check out all the schedules you can see the rules the dates as well as our COVID-19 plan to help keep us all safe once again that is at seniorgames.net. We want to remind you to tune in live next and every Thursday at 5:30pm Mountain Time on AM 1450 or FM9 3.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. We of course take this live show we turn it into a podcast, and you can subscribe, pretty much any word the podcasts are found. If you are listening by Podcast Take a moment and give us a rating write a quick review, one of the best and easiest places to leave a review was at podchaser.com/theactivelife. And then if you can find this in previous shows right on the website and once again, that's seniorgames.net so check that out. Today's inspirational thoughts from the immortal words of Steve Perry. Don't Stop Believin I like it. Until next Thursday, stay active.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai