26 March 2011

Old?? Who said old??

Last night, Mark and I watched When Harry Met Sally. I had seen pieces of the movie before, and from my vague recollections, Harry and Sally were quite old when they got together.

I guess when you're in your teens and early 20s, "old" is a relative term. Watching the movie last night, I figured out that Harry and Sally were actually 32 - which is only about two years older than I am right now. And I am certainly not old.

Want another example of skewed perceptions? When I graduated from undergrad, I went to Paris for 8 months to do an internship. All of the interns lived together and most of us were around the "just graduated" age. On my second night there, this one girl - Mylene - kept talking about her skincare regiment and various creams, etc. As she talked, I just kept looking at her and thinking "you're what, 21 - you look like you're 18, why are you so worried about your skin??" Shortly thereafter, I found out she was actually 30. My next thought was, "oh, thirty - she's going to be no fun because she's old." Seriously? Why did I think that people suddenly became old and un-fun when they hit thirty? Is there something that supposedly happens to people partway through their 20s that makes them cranky fuddy-duddies? What lies have we been telling our youth?? As it turned out - Mylene was one of the most fun people out there, and her endurance for late nights, bar-hopping, and being social far outlasted the rest of us.

I think I'm having a hard time with this whole turning thirty this year.
But why? Your thirties are allegedly even better than your twenties. You're more established, maybe you are married and have a family of your own - no more dating. You've advanced in your chosen career, you have extra money for expensive hobbies (like triathlon). You know your likes and dislikes, and now can focus on getting yourself to where you want to be - no more wasting time "finding yourself." All of this sounds appealing to me. AND - the 30-34 age group in triathlon is more competitive than the 20-something age groups (meaning people must still be getting faster when they hit 30).

Thirty is not old, forty is not old - triathlon has showed me that 50 and 60, even 70 are not old. Just wiser. In my last half-ironman, I remember chasing down a woman because she looked like she was in my age group - when I got close enough to see her calf, I found out she was actually in her 50s. I am convinced that women who do triathlons often look younger and more in shape than their inactive counterparts. Since it's impossible to stop having a birthday every year, the only way to counteract the negative connotations of "getting older" is to stay active, eat healthy, and take care of myself. Maybe someday I'll be that 50-something getting chased down by a 27 year old, because I look younger than I actually am.

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