Last week I was getting my ass kicked at Body Specs (or, more accurately, I was kicking my own ass), when Pink Floyd’s “Time” came through the speakers.
Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
Roger Waters wrote these lyrics in his late twenties. I’d call them ironic, given he was part of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Hardly a slacker.
But having achieved twice that age, I can agree on one part for sure: whether you spend your life killing time or filled with activity, years can slip by in what seems like a heartbeat. And the older I get, the faster time does that. Seems like just yesterday I turned 50, which I celebrated that entire year, as documented right here in this blog.
And next month the odometer rolls over as I turn sixty.
Unlike the rest of the stanza, though, the last ten years have been the most active of my life, and a great deal of fun. From just a handful of races at age 50, I now have well over a hundred under my belt, and I’m there for that starting gun, in the sunshine or the rain (or snow). And all but two times so far, I’ve crossed the finish line – even finishing first a couple of times.
Here are just a few of the highlights of my past ten years:
– My first 50K, 50-miler, 100K, 100-miler, and 150-miler, and triathlons;
– Racing in snowshoes, including one year at 20 below zero
– Running a 50K at Burning Man (and the whole experience there)
– Cycling from Ann Arbor to Empire and back (600 miles over six days)
– Riding naked in Portland
– Achieving brown belt in Aikido
– Starting a Zero Waste company that’s serviced over 100 athletic events
– Walking my daughter down the aisle at her wedding
And earlier this year, I completed my first novel, for which I’m currently soliciting an agent.
Yet while I’m still looking forward to more adventures, I’m feeling a little pang about the change of decade. Even though nothing is really changing by leaving my fifties behind, it feels like the end of an era somehow.
But as my Aikido sensei pointed out many times, every end is also a beginning. And in that spirit, I will begin my sixties with an appropriate welcoming activity. A celebratory ultra, naturally. The day after my birthday, I’ll be running the Loup Garou 60-miler in Louisiana. As for 2022 and beyond, there are many intriguing opportunities, in running and in other areas of life. One thing I will never change, hopefully, is to always have something to look forward to.
There have been some sad times for sure, like my mother’s passing, and my wife’s health challenges. But for anyone who’s not looking forward to getting older, I have only this to say: Think again. At any age, you can do a lot more than you think. Just show up for that starting gun!