Getting Old, Fast

June 13, 2007 at 10:56 am (Family, General, Sports, Writing)

My 30th birthday is right around the corner. In fact, it’s two months from tomorrow. And it scares me.

Now, all of my older family and friends are going to laugh when they read that, even though they went through it, too, when it was their turn. After all, isn’t forgetfulness one of the true benefits of experience? Or is that one of the benefits of old age? Which is rapidly closing in on me? Ah, well, they say the memory is the first thing to go…

In any case, it’s intimidating. I mean, 30, that’s halfway to 60. And 60 is, well, older than 29 and 10 months, for starters. Not that it’s too old. I look at my mom and stepdad, who are both in their 60s, and are still enjoying life. In fact, they are going to be traveling to Spain with Heather and me this Fall to hunt down my mom’s ancestors’ hometowns, etc. So that’s a good sign that I’ll still be able to do the stuff that I want to do (namely, travel and spend quality time with my wife and expected future children) when I hit 60+. But still, 60? It’s like winning the lottery or catching the clap, one of those things that you assume only happens to other people, never to you.

Well, I’ve decided to face this creeping paranoia head-on, by having a mid-life crisis twenty years early. Seriously, though, I have decided to set myself a couple of goals to hit before the big 3-0 hits me, and twist the pressure that I’m feeling into a positive force. Which I guess is the opposite of corruption, except that I’m not sure what the proper name for that process is. Just “ruption”? “Purification”? “Purruption”? Pointless neologisms aside, the first of those goals is to defend my dissertation proposal, which (to stave off the inevitable questions) is not the same as completing my dissertation (that’s about two years down the road). Six years ago, my goal was to complete my dissertation by 30. Two months out, I’ve had to renegotiate. But that’s okay in Academia, as far as I can tell. You know how they say that 30 is the new 20? Well, in Academia, 35 is the new 28, at least when it comes to finishing your PhD. So, I’m right on track for that.

The other goal, however, is much shallower and more hubristic. In a pointless attempt to prove that I’m still as young as I wish I felt, I’ve been training to run a 7-minute mile for the last couple of months. It started out as Josh’s idea for both of us, and he’s pretty much given up, although he still shows up at the gym every day and keeps me company while I beat the crap out of myself. He just doesn’t care as much, being six whole, blessed, beautiful years younger than me. Ah, how youth is wasted on the young!

About a month ago, I hit an eight minute mile for the first time since, well, ever. I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t run a ten minute mile in junior high, so this was quite an achievement, if I do say so myself. Well, today, I hit 7:28.6, just 28.6 seconds shy of my mark, and with two months to get down there, if my poor old heart or knees don’t give out first. And, even though I curse the track every morning at the gym, it’s actually very satisfying, knowing that while I’m getting older, I’m also getting faster. If that’s what age brings, I can live with that.

Even if I am still 28.6 seconds shy of what I should have been running back in junior high.


  1. Agent Flying Mouse said,

    Yeah baby…
    It’s not how old you’re gonna be then, it’s how old you are now.

  2. 6:51.7 « Excavating the Future said,

    […] I beat seven minutes or not.  But I did not quit, and I have therefore reached the second of the two goals that I set for myself before turning […]

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