That’s from a little slip my mom put in my birthday card. It made me smile, maybe a good summary for me for this birthday.
Fifty. The big one. There’s something about these milestone birthdays that bring out a lot of reflection. I’m generally pretty okay with letting birthdays slip on by. I don’t think that it’s about avoiding thinking about them, I think I’m just kind of low key that way. And really, I’d be just fine with letting this one slip by too and it is really pretty low key. But maybe it’s that there is something about now having to change age groups that forces you away from that. It seems a bit more significant that one day makes all the difference between being able to say I’m in my 40’s, and… not being able to.
My one crisis birthday was probably 30. In the years leading up to it I’d changed away from the career path I figured would always be part of my life to being barely employed and scared to death about how I would support my family and clueless about what I wanted to do when I grew up. This was when I was supposed to be hitting life full stride. I was pretty good with 40, looking forward to what was ahead more than regretting where I was.
And here I am looking at life now and one thing hasn’t changed a whole lot. I still don’t know for sure what I want to do when I grow up. I mean, I do, sort of. I’m in grad school, seminary actually, though I think I’ll be retired by the time I get done at this pace. I don’t really know how that’s going to pan out honestly.
And yet, I feel really good about 50. Despite the uncertainty I like where I am, and I love where I’m going (even if I don’t know where that is).
And I think that’s where I really liked what my mom sent. Hittin 50 and Speedin up (and underneath that she puts “way to go”). She and so many others have been so encouraging in this half marathon training. But you know, I think it reflects so many other things. When I first started running, it really took a huge effort, maybe because it was so awkward and felt so unnatural, but as I started the C25K training I did it somewhat believing I could do it but knowing it was going to be rather dreadful getting there because those periods of awkwardness and discomfort would just get longer each week.
I think i may have felt that way some at the start of this as well, but that’s where I’m starting to see some real change. I’m getting impatient through the rest days, I miss the runs those days. When I get done running and start walking to cool down it seems more comfortable to keep running. When I started this I was trying to determine what kind of proportions of running to walking I would attempt, now that really isn’t a question for me.
And I’m starting to see it all make a difference in life in other ways. I think I see other challenges as things to enjoy and embrace rather than things to dread and avoid. I feel better. I had the easiest time trimming my toenails that I’ve had in ages (for you skinny people, strap a basketball around your gut and try to trim your toenails, you’ll know what I mean).
Yes, there are all those things about aging. I can say that after a couple of hours going up and down ladders for work yesterday I definitely can feel some of that. There are things about getting older that just stink.
But truth is, there are things about being younger that stink too. I think I’m getting to the point where I don’t know that getting older presents any more challenge than we ever had before, it’s just that the challenges are different.
This morning I was driving to men’s breakfast at church. ZZ Top’s La Grange came on the radio. LOVE that song… it’s the kinda music that just makes you want to drive a little faster. And maybe that’s what is exciting about this time in life for me right now is that, life is good. Really good. The kinda good that makes you wanna speed up.