Age is a funny thing. For us runners, it can be the difference between qualifying for Boston or not. For us women, it can be a very loud tick-tock sound of our biological clocks reminding us we’re running out of time for plans of baby making. For anyone who feels hostage to age, it can be a lonely place.
Recently, I turned 45. And for a few months prior to the big day, I found myself dreading it. I can’t really put a finger on it, other than just the mere sound of 45 freaked me out a bit. 45???? Seriously?? My timing of turning 45 and running my 3:56 at Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and my 3:57 at Boston Marathon, enabled me to qualify for Boston 2012 under the old time criteria. WAHOO! Up until that point, I was fortunate to run Boston twice as an unqualified runner, but spent an exorbitant amount of money to do so. It was totally worth the money by the way, but I digress.
Recently, I’ve found myself questioning which “group” of people I belong with. I have a close friend who is just shy 32 and another who just turned 50. Scott runs with a close friend who is 63. At a July 4th cookout, I hung out all afternoon with Melissa, a 20-something, talking about running, labs, and general healthy/fun living. On our Grand Canyon trip, Scott and I met a family traveling from a neighboring town. What are the odds! Lou and Denise had taken their son Nick and his girlfriend Ashley on this wonderful rafting trip. We connected with them pretty quickly; the fact that they were wearing our home team Patriot’s game shirts didn’t hurt either. I thought it interesting that, as much as I chatted away with Lou and Denise, I felt equally comfortable doing the same with Nick and Ashley. Lou and Denise are a few years older than we are, while Nick and Ashley are in their mid-20’s. Where did I belong?
Do we need to belong to just one age group or demographic? I don’t believe so, but it does beg the question of what connects us and to whom. Obviously, our running friends have the running part in common. And this family we met in the Grand Canyon was similar to us in that they were active and clearly gravitated to the same adventurous trip as we had. And coming from New England, there was a definite Boston accent echoing in the Canyon….
I’m glad that I can mingle with different age groups. I feel like it enriches me. Of course, I don’t ever want to be the 45 year old who tries to look or act 20-something, but it’s refreshing to engage in conversation with younger and older people to gain different perspectives. I also don’t ever want to focus so much on age that I land in that lonely place. We all “go” sometime, but you won’t find me watching the clock for my turn.
I will watch the clock for my next race PR though……and will proudly represent the 45-49 age group!