Friday, July 2, 2010
Stepping Into A New Age Bracket
Five years ago, at the ripe old age of 30, I re-examined my life - you know, just took a long, hard look at where I was and where I was going. Perhaps I should say, where I wasn't going.
Turns out, I wasn't exactly happy with the path I was on. I probably knew that on my 28th birthday. And my 29th. But it took a "big" birthday - for some reason the ones that end in "0" or "5" tend to force us into those reflective moments, don't they? - for me to take a serious look.
It took me a while to admit to myself - and way longer to actually do something about it - that I needed a change. Truth be told, it was a lot of work - a lot of emotional work - to figure out why I wasn't happy, who I wanted to be and what I wanted life to be like.
Think about it - have you actually ever done that? Totally re-examined your life and your decisions, then consciously worked toward the future?
I truly believe that every moment of our past, good or bad, shapes us into who we are today. I've often said that I wouldn't change where I've come from, which might be surprising to those who endured my whining about it. (Okay, I might change the fact that it ate up such a significant chunk of my life - couldn't I figure things out faster and earlier? But that's about it.)
It's a rare gift to actually pick apart all of those not-so-good moments to help ourselves go forward with conviction and confidence. Yes, I said it's a gift - certainly not exactly what I was thinking at the time.
Kinda like the "you're going to appreciate that hill training when race day comes along" advice we try to give to our new runners.
For me, those dark days and life's turmoil were like the less-than-ideal days of training - those long runs in torrential downpours, those frigid days that make you question why you run, those aches and pains.
All of those tough-it-out days on the road are what make you stronger. They make you a better runner. And they just mean that much more when you hit the Finish Line successfully. And smiling.
Is it too cliche to say life is like a marathon?
Today I turn 35. That means, when it comes time to enter my next race, I'll be in a new age bracket.
Know what? I'm totally ready for it. From a running perspective, I'm leaps and bounds better than I was when I started running three years ago. I'm stronger. And I'm smarter.
It's not hard to see the parallels between my progress as a runner and my progress in life.
It's not a coincidence that I took up running at the age of 32, just as I was struggling through some of life's challenges. With every step I took while running, I took a step forward in life. And that sentence is just as true in the present tense.
Despite the calendar reminding me that I've added another year, I feel younger now than I ever have - more confident, focused, content and healthy. I am totally, completely satisfied with where I am at this very moment.
I am without a doubt or any hesitation looking forward to the next year. And the one after that. And the one after that.
Yeah, that's right. I'm not scared of you, 35. Just don't ask me to think about your friend, 40 ... not yet anyway.