In this post, seventy-seven-year-old Vera Koo looks back at her life – all the trials and tribulations, combined with wonderful memories – and is grateful. Find out how she achieved a mindset that allows her to be happy.

As I drove to Utah last fall to practice my shotgun shooting for the 2023 World Senior Games, I was struck by just how grateful I felt.

I am blessed with transportation and the equipment to pursue this sport I took up about two years ago after I retired from Bianchi Cup. I had ammunition in my car, plus ear and eye protection. I enjoy my husband’s blessing to disappear to the practice range for days at a time.

Bianchi Cup Barricade Event 2015
Bianchi Cup Barricade Event 2015

How wonderful, and how rare. I take none of this for granted.

I am a 77-year-old Chinese-American woman – an immigrant who did not grow up with any exposure to guns or shooting sports. I raised a family. I supported my husband, cared for my in-laws and helped run a business. Then, when I’d reached middle age, I carved out something that is my own, with my husband Carlos’ support. 

These are my golden years, and I want to enjoy them while I remain healthy. As Carlos says, we have lived full, rewarding lives and anything beyond this is a bonus at our age. I want to cash in on that bonus. I plan to spend this phase of life pursuing new challenges and goals while cherishing opportunities to travel or gather with family.  

How many women of my generation get to do something like this? In particular, how many women from an Eastern culture like mine, which promotes stereotypical gender roles, are shooting shotguns as a senior citizen? 

I am fortunate, but I did not arrive here by luck or coincidence. Our lives are a byproduct of our choices and how we react to adversity. 

We do not choose what culture or situation we are born into, and we do not always get to dictate what happens to us. We may encounter difficulties we feel we do not deserve. How we react to those situations affects the direction of our lives.

United States Action Pistol World Championship Shooting Team 2010
United States Action Pistol World Championship Shooting Team 2010

We all suffer sometimes, but we do not have to carry our scars forever. We can let ourselves become a victim of adversity, or we can take control of our future. 

Thirty years ago, my life hit a crossroads after I experienced a deep personal trauma that shook me to my core, rattled my worldview and threatened to alter my life’s direction. In the weeks and months that followed, I felt like a zombie, just going through the motions, just trying to get by.

Fortunately, I found God during this dark time. I developed my relationship with Jesus Christ after a friend introduced me to Christianity by giving me “Guideposts” to read while I navigated my heartache.

I poured myself into my shooting competitions. I sought help from a therapist. I leaned on my faith. 

Continue reading this blog post at Women’s Outdoor News.


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