OK, a confession. I am a bit obsessed with getting older. I don’t make it much of a secret, either. It takes most people all of 5 seconds to figure it out, given I point out my grey hair and wrinkles to strangers and regularly drop lines like, “at my age” and “back in the 70s.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of being born in the late 60s, and I feel like my generation holds an interesting place in history, bridging the analog and digital age. We lived both, and we see the pros and cons of being wired and unplugged.
Age isn’t just a number, though. There are biological implications. For example: In the last few years, I’ve noticed my hearing has been getting worse. Is it the result of all that Pink Floyd and Def Leppard I was listening to in my parents’ basement when I was young? Or is it just the inevitable wear and tear that comes from hauling ass up the age ladder? More recently, my eyesight has been giving notice that it’s tired of having to look at a screen all day and read shitty font 6 type on medicine bottles. I won’t even get into comparing post workout recovery times between my teenage self and present self (see my blog post: Turning Back the Clock). Occasional lower back pain? Yup! Memory loss? What did you just say? I’ll stop now. I’m embarrassing myself.
I understand that age, in part, is about how you feel, and most of the time I still feel like I’m 17 — at least emotionally. But physically, other stuff is going on. Yes, I can run way further now than I could when I was a teenager. Arguably, I train smarter and have developed more technique to train around the limits of my mid-40s body. But I do recognize that I won’t be able to run long distance forever — that at some point my body will tell me to bring it down a notch or two. That’s not a bad thing at all. I like pushing limits, but I’m also a big fan of longevity.
To be clear, I’ve never let my age dictate what I do or feel (I’ve never thought, OK, I’m 46. Time to grow up). Doing and feeling is dictated by my desire to pursue quality of life experiences, all the while listening to my body and its capacities.
There’s no point pretending age doesn’t exist, but we can still push ourselves, exploring the boundaries of experience and what we think we are capable of — even if we can’t hear or see so well, anymore. If you don’t believe me, just ask my 92 year old aunt, who still logs hours with a personal trainer every week.