Good morning! It’s my birthday today, and that often leads me to do some reflecting. Today I am 38. I’m sure there are some young whippersnappers who are thinking that’s quite old. (Sorry, I can’t always resist the temptation to use corny words like whippersnapper. They amuse me.) Twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, I would have agreed. The good news is that I don’t feel old. I just feel like me.
I find myself teetering on the brink of my forties. How I got this age so quickly is a mystery to me, but here I am.
I was 34 1/2 when I started running. (I have young children. I cannot forget the significance of the 1/2.) A year or so into this new hobby, I decided that I wanted to be in better shape at 40 than I had been at 30. This seemed a possible goal. It’s not that I was heavy at age 30 or obviously in poor health or anything like that. You see, when I was 30, I had a 1 year old and was devoted to “losing the baby weight.” My employer also had a fitness challenge going on at that time. As a result of those efforts, I was slimmer at 30 than I had been before getting pregnant. So, it’s not that I intend to be slimmer at 40 than I was at 30. I don’t think that would be a realistic or healthy goal.
At any rate, I don’t think being slim = being healthy or fit. I actually weigh a few pounds more right now than I did at age 30, so getting back to where I was could be something to shoot for, but I believe I am in better shape in other ways than I was at that time. My cardiovascular endurance has improved about a million times over since then. I couldn’t have run around the block before stopping to catch my breath. While I’m no speedy runner now, the fact is that I can run much farther than around the block. I have run two half marathons now and I couldn’t tell you how many 5K’s. It’s something that I enjoy and makes me feel better. In that regard, I am in better shape at the ripe old age of 38 than I was 8 years ago. I have no plans of stopping anytime soon!
After a few years of running, it occurred to me that I’d like to be stronger in other ways too. Strength training is really not my thing, so it’s not where you’ll see me devoting the most time, but I am making an effort to include more strength training in my life. I’ve given myself monthly pushup challenges, for example, and I’m doing 30 Day Shred this month. Like I said, it’s not really my thing, but I’m trying.
Another huge change since age 30 is the much greater amount of fresh fruits and veggies that I eat. Since joining the CSA in 2009, I eat a wide variety of organic produce and have really expanded my food horizons. Doing this also encouraged me to think more about other food choices, and I have cut way back on junk over the last few years. (During high school, my lunch was often a can of Coke. That’s all. No food whatsoever. Can you imagine? Crystal clear example of slim does not equal healthy. I was very thin at that time, but I sure wasn’t taking good care of myself.)
As you can see, if I keep up these positive changes that I’ve already made (and maybe even do better), I think it’s a definite possibility that I’ll be in better shape at 40 than 30. Just a little something that crossed my mind as I see 40 approaching ever more rapidly.
Another thing to consider on my birthday is how very blessed I am. Yesterday I had an early birthday wish on facebook that wished me a day with many blessings. It’s a nice wish. But I have to say, even if my day is just an ordinary day, it will be a day with many blessings. I have always had a roof over my head. I have always had food to eat. I have always had clothing to keep me warm. I been relatively healthy, and when I haven’t been healthy, I have received the medical care necessary to recover. I have a family to love. I have a wonderful husband and two great kids. I have meaningful work. I have the opportunity to find motivation, information and community from/with people not only here in my geographic area, but around the country and beyond. And on and on. Indeed, my birthday (and everyday) is filled with blessings.
Thanks for listening. 🙂 I hope that you also have a day filled with blessings.