Today’s Solutions: April 23, 2024

Editor’s Note: We received an update after publishing this story that Dorothy Hoffman passed days after her 104th birthday was celebrated in this world-record-setting style. She leaves a lasting legacy of inspiration and a reminder to always live life to the fullest!

Dorothy Hoffner, a 104-year-old Chicagoan, is proving that age is no barrier to pursuing one’s aspirations. Dorothy just set a world record by becoming the oldest person to partake in a skydiving excursion. She’s redefining what it means to embrace life’s amazing moments with a brave heart and a smile that could light up the sky.

104 and ready to soar

Dorothy was able to begin on her thrilling voyage to the skies of Northern Illinois owing to the assistance of Skydive Chicago. She was on her way to Ottawa to create history as she prepared for her tandem jump with a licensed US Parachute Association instructor. With each stride, she demonstrated to the world that dreams have no age restrictions.

Dorothy’s adventurous spirit was sparked a few years back when she celebrated her 100th birthday with her first skydive. The instructor gave her a gentle nudge to get them both out of the plane at the time. But this time, at the age of 104, she was determined to lead the tandem jump herself, soaring from an incredible 13,500 feet above the Earth.

A leap of faith

Dorothy’s indomitable spirit is captured in a touching video posted by Skydive Chicago. You can see her boldly approaching the plane with her trusty red walker, flanked by other skydivers who share her excitement. Her bright smile reflects her enthusiasm as she anticipates her exhilarating moment.

Dorothy’s determination shines through when the plane’s aft door swings open. She leaps straight into the infinite sky, without hesitation.

Reaching for the sky

Dorothy glides into the skies for a few exhilarating minutes, clutching onto the harness and reveling in the magnificent experience of free fall. The wind rushes by, and the earth below appears both remote and majestic. It’s an exhilarating experience that defies expectations.

As the descent begins, the instructor deploys the parachute, and Dorothy’s experience slows down. As the Earth approaches, she can reflect on the incredible journey she’s experienced, defying aging and teaching the world what it actually means to enjoy life.

Breaking records and pursuing dreams

Dorothy’s skydiving achievement has put her on track to break records. Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson, 103, of Sweden held the record for the oldest person to skydive prior to her leap. Skydive Chicago is now seeking Guinness World Records to recognize Dorothy Hoffner’s jump as the new world record holder.

Dorothy recalls her incredible encounter as nothing short of wonderful. “It was wonderful up there,” she says with a twinkle in her eye. The entire experience was great, beautiful, and couldn’t have been better.” Her experience serves as a reminder that age should never be an impediment to following our aspirations.

Dorothy is already planning her next adventure as she approaches her 105th birthday in December: riding in a hot air balloon. Dorothy Hoffner’s narrative exemplifies the strength of perseverance, the beauty of following one’s dreams, and the unbounded joy that can be found in life’s most amazing moments.



We are highlighting this piece as part of our annual “Best Of” roundup of articles published at The Optimist Daily this year. Today’s focus is on the top Lifestyle solutions of 2023.

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