Now that I guess I'm officially middle-aged, one of the things people always seem to ask me on my birthday is if I feel older. I turned 49 on Wednesday and think I heard that question at least five times. For the record, the answer is no.
It's not like I've stumbled on some fountain of youth shizz. I've got plenty of gray hair, I tend to let out a low grunt whenever I get up out of a chair and from time to time, my lower back locks up on me. But generally, I feel pretty good. I'm in decent, not great, shape. I've battled foot injuries the last few years and this year has been better. My weight's not where I want it to be, but it's not bad. Ideally, I'd like to lose another 10 pounds and increase my running speed. My endurance is good; in the last few weeks, I did a tough 10-mile trail race and then Reach the Beach and felt good throughout. In fact, this was my eight consecutive RTB and it was the first time I felt better with each successive leg. I wasn't as fast as I was two years ago, but I felt strong.
Family-wise, we're in an interesting and busy place. Hannah started her freshman year of high school while Lily's in 7th grade. Hannah's playing JV soccer, so there are games to attend during the week, while Lily's playing both town and club, which means we have games on Saturday and Sunday. Add in practices and cross country for Lily and there's a lot of back and forth. But both girls are playing well and having fun, and doing well in school.
Do I feel older? No. Do I think I'm 28? Hell, no. Somebody asked me if I wished I was turning 35 and I emphatically said no. Been there, done that. Sometimes I wistfully look back at my 20s when I was playing different sports seemingly every night (softball, hockey, street hockey, soccer, golf, tennis) or going to concerts with regularity. But I don't need to be doing that now. Everything has its time and place. That doesn't mean I don't play sports or go to concerts anymore. I just pick my spots.
And yeah, I know I'm a year away from the big 5-0. It's weird to think about but I'm not afraid of it. The way I see it, I might as kick as much ass as possible. I think about my father at the same age and there's no comparison: he lived a very sedentary lifestyle. When he got home from work, he ate dinner and plopped down on the couch to watch TV for several hours. Exercise was never a consideration. Diabetes also became a factor in his 40s. It's not tough to figure out why I became such a fitness nut.
I have to be a little smarter about things these days. Since my company moved to a new office, I haven't been working out at lunch. It wasn't a big deal in the summer because I could run or go to the gym before work, but now that I have to get Lily to school, there's less time for working out. I haven't used the gym in our building yet, but I'm going to start. It's been about a month since I've lifted at a gym because I strained my forearm using dumbbells; I've been doing pushups and dips in the living room instead. And I have to do a lot of stretches every day to keep my heels in shape to run. It's not easy, but I'll keep doing it. I have a half marathon coming up in November, so I'm keeping the mileage up on the weekends.
Sure, I'm rapidly approaching geezerhood, especially when I look at some of my co-workers, who are 20-25 years younger than me. But I'm doing it on my own terms, dammit.