Thursday, April 08, 2010
I hear people say all the time, "Well, I'm going to get old someday and..." Or "you're lucky you're still young." It is true that as we grow old lots of things change in our bodies that we simply can't control. True. I am just not sure that growing old is so terrible, nor as restricting as it is often portrayed. To illustrate: my husband and I go running regularly along the Illinois Prairie Path, where loads of other runners get out to enjoy scenic paths, sheltered by tree and bush from the sights of city and suburbia. We see all sorts of runners out there, and just as a note, I am encouraged by each one of them. The most inspiring runners for me, however, are the ones who have wrinkles. First, they are usually going way faster than I am. They have gone down these roads before (literally!) and know what it takes to run well. They have form and poise, stamina and grit, and probably deeper things to think about while they run than most of us younger runners, not to mention more self acceptance which makes their experience that much more blissful. They are the runners I admire and esteem. They may have lost some things to time, like muscle, speed, or flexibility, but I certainly can't tell. It's not that they are admirable for 'staying young' but they are admirable because they didn't give-in to the perceptions we have about aging. Again, some people may have such severe joint issues that running is simply out of the question, but that's besides the point, I think. It's one thing to let your real self set the boundaries rather than the self that people project onto you.
All that to say that one of my 'lifetime goals' is to run, if I can, when I'm 75. Not to stay young. But because I'm free to do it if I want.