Going Like Sixty

By Frank the Man | Aug 03, 2010

My wife awoke this morning to find a sixty year old man in her bed.


It was me.


Others have written far more eloquently than I am about to about the ravages of time and the inevitability of aging.


I think it was Mae West (although it could have been the Bachelorette) who famously said,  “It’s not the men in your life that matters, it’s the life in your men”.


I’ll put my own spin on that, and suggest it’s the life in your years, and not the years in your life, that matter.


Life and circumstances allowed me to enjoy an inordinate amount of free time the last two years. While I have come to realize that I am too old to ‘work out’, it is still well within my capabilities to exercise, however modestly.


Near-daily walks became my routine, helping get my legs in shape.  A couple months ago I pulled my long-neglected bike down from the rafters, and after inflating the tires and having the chain put back onto the sprocket (a condition that sounds like a reason for a ballplayer to go on the Disabled List – “Workman was placed on the 60-day DL with a dislocated sprocket. Doctors surgically attached the chain to it, and they termed the operation a success.”), even short rides over our hilly local terrain have made my thigh muscles regret their existence.


On a warm day this spring when I was feeling particularly frisky, I took to running some sprints on the track at the local stadium, timing myself for a hundred yards. (Not with a calendar, ya wise guys, but a stop watch.) 


When my absolute, very best 100-time came in at 20 seconds, a little math made me understand that my fastest sprinting pace was slower that the 26.2 mile pace of the top marathoners.


It hit me then that my days as anything resembling a competitive athlete were long passed, and that my only true competition is with myself.


Since then, I have stopped worrying what the sight of this old guy traipsing through the neighborhood looks like to my neighbors and passers-by.


My attire matters little to me. If I want to wear a blue Toronto Maple Leafs tee shirt over some baggy green shorts, then that’s just what I’m going to do.


It ain’t about looking good, it’s about doing good.


I have a very modest little 3-mile course I run, timing myself out of curiosity more than a sense of competition, and while I’ve already seen a two-minute improvement in my time, my pace remains glacial, and I far more resemble the tortoise than the hare, to be sure.


Yet I think I derive two benefits from all this.


One, it just feels so good when I stop.


And two, it seems to allow me to indulge my lone remaining vice – food.


George Burns once said  “Anybody can live to be a hundred years old, but you’d have to give up all the things that would make living that long worth it”.


Me, I’ll just settle for trying to live forever or die in the attempt.


There’s no question about it.










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