AGE: perception and reality… and running through it

Today an amazing thing happened. But, before I tell you what it was, let me give you the back story.

When I turned 45, I was feeling a bit unhinged – mainly because I felt so much younger than the perception of what 45 would be. (Mind you, this perception is leftover from when I was a kid and 45 seemed “old”.) It’s odd, because in my real life, my peers don’t seem old. My parents don’t seem old. We’re all just “scaling up”, more or less. But, in my head, it just didn’t add up and I felt like, at any second, I’d all of a sudden become the “old” that I had been imagining as a kid.

In a vain and desperate attempt to preserve things, I went to the mall, cruised the cosmetic section, and landed at the Lancome counter. I am *exactly* who cosmetic companies count on for selling overpriced, over promised products.

Me: “I need wrinkle cream, toner – basically, hit me with your age-defying products.”
Saleswoman: “Ok. Let’s get a good look.”

She got close, moved my hair away, squinted, turned my head right, then left. It was a full-on flaw and wrinkle inspection. She hustled around in drawers and cabinets and unloaded products on the counter in front of me. One for removing make up, one for exfoliating, for hydrating, for wrinkle filling, for skin rejuvenation, and a bunch of other things that seemed redundant but were apparently necessary for the whole system to do it’s magic.

The creams smelled nice and she oohed and ahhed as she smoothed them onto my face. I looked in the mirror. Hmpf. Looked the same to me.

Me: “So how long do I have to use all of this for it to work?”
Saleswoman: “Well, of course, it’s different results for different women.”

I pondered the possibility of basically handing over a mortgage payment to arrest the aging process playing out on my face. She could tell I was undecided.

Me: “I just don’t know. Maybe I’ll think about it.”
She leaned in close so nobody would hear her, and said “Honey, I can sell you all this stuff, but really, the only thing that’s gonna stop all this is… DEATH.”

There you have it. Straight up truth. The brutal kind, but the kind that allowed me to leave without spending a dime.

FAST FORWARD to this evening. I went to pick up some beer for my husband and some snacks for me. I hopped into the express line with beer, chips, and ice cream. The saleswoman seemed a bit exasperated, looked at my items, glanced up at me, and sighed, “ID, please.”

I was so stunned, I just pulled out my license and handed it over. She punched my birthdate into the register and waited for it to calculate my age. Then, she peered up at me, raised her eyebrows, and said, “Ok, I was not expecting that. Looking good!”

I was *this* close to giving her a hug.

Why is any of this in my running blog? Because the only thing that is different between the Lancome death speech and the Shaw’s carding episode is that I’ve signed up for a marathon in the meantime.

I’ve adjusted my diet and (except for some slips like tonight’s purchases) I’ve been making sure it’s full of healthy volume and balance, including tons more water than I would normally think to drink. I’ve run hundreds of miles in between these two events, and I think I’ve toned up some. I’ve worked hard at positive self talk while pushing through grueling miles. I’ve made time in my crazy schedule to complete distances, alone with my thoughts, and in the company of friendship.

The marathon commitment, in spite of my complaining, is really a force of good self care that is necessary to endure the training. Do I really look young enough to get carded? Of course not. Even I know that. But, I have to think that this effort is having a positive effect. And, that is the best kind of motivator.

I have a mantra for when the hills are hard and the cramps are chomping at me. I repeat in my head, “I am strong, I am ready; I am strong, I am ready” over and over again.

Now, I think might add, “I got carded, yes I did; I got carded, yes I did.” πŸ™‚

Planning for 14-15 miles on Saturday run. I’ll let you know if the new mantra works.


6 thoughts on “AGE: perception and reality… and running through it

  1. Beer, chips & ice cream – alcohol, salt & fat – 3 major food groups covered! Love it! Was it by any chance coffee ice cream – because I think that would cover the 4th major food group. πŸ˜‰

  2. Excellent post! I think a ton of us in our 40’s feel like we are so much younger than an parents were at our age. Running helps to keep the body in the same shape our minds are in. Keep running, it does the soul good.

  3. So glad I found this post! I was wallowing in my “getting-older-sucks” mood and was thinking about some annoying (but thankfully minor) physical problems I’m experiencing. I love the makeup counter later keeping it real!

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