Growing older has always meant gaining wisdom and losing the use of your body to me. Gaining wisdom excites me to no end. I can't wait to be wiser; I feel a lot of power comes with wisdom. However, other than blindness, losing the use of my body is one of my very real fears (however, I suppose my eyes could be added into that broad statement). I can't image waking up one day with a hip thrown out and arthritis rendering my hands useless.
One thing I do to battle this fear is any physical activity I can think of. However, I have already, at the age of 26, begun coming to points where things I have done happened quite a while ago. To the point that I fear I can't still do them. I use to be in gymnastics and won the State Championship in cheerleading. I would do stretches and flips without really even thinking about it. My niece is now a gymnast and at Thanksgiving she took us out to the trampoline to show us what she can currently do. While watching her the words, I use to be able to do that, slipped right out of my mouth. That statement bowled me over that something I did without thought for so long had become a "use to" statement. This got me on the trampoline in an attempt to prove my virility.
Even though it worked and I am still able to attempt such a feat, the fact that I felt the need to risk a visit to the ER to prove that I am still young seemed to prove the opposite by default.
This saddens me, but also seems to make me try harder. I refuse to reach the point of being out of breath as I walk across a parking lot. I feel the age of 26 is too early for that. Instead, I run. However, taking a tiny jog once or twice a week seemed like the work of the elderly to me. Instead, I decided to run A LOT. I began training for a half marathon and ran it in Tulsa on a sunny, November day.
The thought was that if I could get this idea out of my system I would feel better and could give it a rest for a while. Not so. I loved it! I loved the whole experience so much. There were tens of thousands of people lined up in the middle of a busy city's street jostling one another, laughing, and overall just being happy (at 7 in the morning no less!). I don't think I have ever experienced anything like it in my life. Just waiting with all those people in the cold middle of the street gave me enough energy to run 13.1 miles without stopping once. I really wasn't sure I could do it when we parked that morning. However, I had energy to burn by the end of it. It was amazing.
So amazing that I am still running with my sights set on May's OKC Memorial Run. My heart says do the full marathon this time, but my mind says that it is freaking freezing outside and I am losing valuable training time because of arctic fronts. However, the moral of the story is that I will be running a marathon this year whether I do it in OKC in May or wait until November to run the Tulsa one again. I like that I genuinely enjoy running and pushing myself physically. I enjoy that I have moved past doing all this work out of spite against aging and am now doing it because I enjoy the feeling. That has made me feel younger than any replays of physical deeds from my past ever have. I never ran a lot when I was younger. This advocation is just between me and my maturing body.