Last Friday morning when I got into the office, I almost immediately felt the urge to go out for a run. It took about an hour before I was out the door. Hey, it was Friday, and I hadn’t run in a week. I needed it, and I dutifully returned to my cubicle afterward, scout’s honor.
It was glorious. I coasted through every single traffic light on my route with the exception of one, which is kind of a big deal running around downtown DC. I mean, we’re talking 26 traffic lights. And the one red light that I did approach was perfectly timed, if you know what I mean. As in, I was grateful for the momentary respite just then.
When I got back to the building, I was feeling pretty great. I ran into one of the building’s maintenance guys and began chatting with him. It came out in the conversation that he’s 36, which shocked me since he looks barely 25. And after voicing my surprise, he said, “Yeah, once you hit 30, you start feeling old.” Great. Awesome. Way to go. With one sentence, he effectively took all the air out of my tires. (I was going to say he knocked the wind out of my sails, but thefreedictionary.com told me that means “to humiliate someone,” which doesn’t really fit this situation. Here I’ve spent a good 20 years misinterpreting that phrase. That’s kind of embarrassing. Oh. I guess it works here then.)
Thus deflated, I quickly proceeded to get myself into a sour mood. In the locker room, I stared at myself in the mirror. Those fine lines I started noticing a few years ago are beginning to look like deep chasms. And I should probably start keeping an eye out for grey hairs because they’ll undoubtedly begin popping up soon. And, for that matter, did you hear that creaking sound? I’m pretty sure all my joints are making noise whenever I move.
Is this how it happens? One second you’re an angsty teenager and the next you’re in an old folks’ home gumming your food? (Uh oh, bad sign: I’m already halfway there.) OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic (who, me?). Maybe I actually feel like I’m in the best(ish) shape of my life and only anticipate great things ahead (what those things are I couldn’t say…but I’m pretty sure they include rainbows and puppy dogs. Oh, and almond cookies…you know those ones in the shape of a horseshoe with the ends dipped in chocolate? Almond horns, yeah, that’s what they’re called. mmm, yeah, I’m pretty sure I envision those in my future). Maybe I went for a run on an empty stomach and just needed to eat something (ha, oops, that “forgetting to eat” thing again. I really need to work on that.).
Ah, that’s better. Blood sugar levels rising; anxiety levels decreasing. I’ll be hiking the Appalachian Trail in less than six months. What crotchety old biddy hikes the A.T.? That’s right: by definition crotchety old biddies don’t hike the A.T. (Trust me. I looked it up. In a book.). Ipso facto, I couldn’t be an old biddy. And something I hadn’t thought of before, there really aren’t many mirrors to look into while hiking the A.T. Everybody knows you look younger and less wrinkly when you don’t have a mirror to stare into.
Oh, the future is definitely looking up.