It’s hard to be excited about this particular birthday. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to be celebrating one considering the alternative. But there’s something about birthday number 60. I am working hard at not believing I am old. But you know what? I’M NOT! I refuse to buy into that paradigm.
Last year about this time I turned 59—funny how that works. I posted a blog entry Age Is Just a Number—Isn’t It? In that entry I expounded about my fear of turning 60 because, for some reason, I see people age…like almost overnight when they turn 60. Just look the Boston Marathon qualification times, for example. Every five years, the qualifying times increase 5 to 10 minutes from age 18 to 59. But then at 60—whoa! The time increases by 15 minutes and continue to increase by at least 15 minutes through age 80 and over. So my qualifying time for Boston 2015 is 4 hours, 25 minutes. Since I ran the California International Marathon (CIM) last December in 3:59:50, I will be able to register on the first day of registration. So I guess that’s a good thing. But really, 15 minutes???
When I posted a link to my blog entry last year in LinkedIn, I was thrilled to get some wonderful responses that validated my belief that age really is just a number. Morris Roberts commented that he didn’t even start running until he was over 50 and had 5 marathons under his belt, including Boston, a dozen half marathons and many 10K’s. Morris maintains that “old” is a feeling that he intends to not feel for a long time.
Another runner, Mike Haedrich, ran CIM at age 52 and had his second fastest marathon to date. He continues to enjoy being competitive and intends to stay that way for a long time.
Then there was David Salvas, who at age 60, ran a marathon a month for a year to celebrate. Now that’s a testament to not turning old at 60. But he didn’t stop there. At age 62 he ran the length of his state (221 miles). In 2013 David became the only runner, young or old, to run both the length and width of his state when he ran the width of 116 miles. Then, two weeks later, he completed a ½ IronMan and finished first in his age group. David had, at that time, completed 85 marathons and believes he is not defined by his age, but by what he contributes to his community.
Another comment by Richard Jares further validated that turning 60 is not getting old. At age 66, Richard continues to compete and ran 15 marathons that year placing 5th or higher (with several firsts) in his age group. You can bet he beat a bunch of runners younger than him.
But there was another contributor to the conversation that chastised us—the ones who believe age is just a number. There’s got to be one in every crowd, right? Gregory Smith, 70 years old, tried hard to convince us that the grim reaper is chasing us and that he will catch us. Then Gregory went on to give us examples of elite athletes who experienced declining performance as they aged. Yes, of course, anyone can find examples of that. That’s the paradigm that we can choose to believe or not. Did Gregory not read the amazing accomplishments of Morris, Mike, David, and Richard? Isn’t it funny that Gregory had no accomplishments to talk about, just “advice” to bring us down to his level of “old”.
As I see it, we have a choice. We can look forward to life as Gregory does that the grim reaper is chasing us and will catch us. Uhggggg. Or we can align with Morris, Mike, David, and Richard who are out there experiencing life. It doesn’t have to be running. It can be anything that you feel passionate about and gets you out of your comfort zone. As I look forward to my 60’s, I know I will achieve many great things and continue to break barriers well into my 60’s, 70’s and beyond. I am alive and vibrant and young at heart. Thank you, Morris, Mike, David, and Richard, for your strength and determination. I look forward to Boston 2015 and hope to run a personal record at age 60. Why not? Anything is possible. Let’s break barriers together!
Book Note: Yes, I’m going to finish that book! I’m in my final rewrite. Meanwhile, I recorded and produced two audio CDs, HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews and THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job. In August I will record and produce my third audio CD, THE NINE KEYS TO GETTING A JOB IN ANY MARKET—Learn A Recruiter’s Secrets To Marketing Yourself. The CD’s and MP3 downloads will soon be available on my (soon to be live) website. www.doloreslara.com.