Dayton: Yea, my dad has absolutely no intention of retiring any time soon.
Me: No kidding? That's impressive. And that's not too much of a physical or mental drain for him?
Dayton: Nope. He's still traveling, managing a bunch of people, doing presentations, all of it, really.
Me: Wow. My dad doesn't do much more than take a walk around the hood and the NY Times crossword puzzle these days. I'm surprised your dad still has enough energy for such a demanding schedule.
Dayton: Yeah, well, as I said, he still really loves what he does. It sounds weird, but it's almost like he gets a high from it. People always ask him why he hasn't stopped working. But, why would he stop if it still makes him happy, you know?
Me: Yea. I do know. It makes perfect sense. That's awesome. More power to him.
Later that night, when I gave it some more thought, I realized that Dayton's dads' situation with work is not much different from my own with running. His dad doesn't need to work, at least not from a financial standpoint. His kids are all grown up and out of the house. He could easily just chill out and do whatever it is retired people do these days. But he chooses to work. Why? Maybe because he likes the challenge and craves the intellectual stimulation. Or perhaps it's because he's good at it and he has fun doing it. Maybe it's all of these factors. But the bottom line is, he wants to work and he still can. So, why wouldn't he? I'm not 70. But, in the runner's world, at age 40, I'm considered an older runner. Do I need to run? No. Do I want to run? Hell yes. And to my good fortune, I still can. I'm not a professional athlete. I'm not making money from training and racing. My kids aren't going to starve if I hang up my shoes. There is absolutely no pressure on me to run day after day, year after year. And yet, still after having run eleven marathons and countless miles on the road, much like Dayton's dad likely does every time he leaves for work, I still get a little giddy every single time I lace up my kicks. Marathon training is incredibly rewarding for me, regardless of the outcome of the race. When things don't go well, it makes me want to work even harder the next time around. I am constantly learning, improving, making mistakes and starting again. And I'm not even close to being done. I can't tell you how many people give me looks of disbelief or confusion when I tell them I'm still running marathons. Some of the responses I get are even better. Things like:
~ No way. Really? Marathons?
~ Isn't that hard on your body at your age?
~ Wait, you like to run?
~ Why would you put yourself through all that torture?
and then my all time favorite
~ So, like, you're still living the dream or something?
Yes, yes and yes. The dream is mine and, yes, I'm still living it. Running makes me happy. It gets me high. I can still do it and I want to. And my age has nothing to do with it. Maybe one day, Dayton's dad won't want to work anymore. Or maybe he won't be able to. But, clearly, that day isn't coming any time soon. Not by a long shot. The same goes for me with running and for all the rest of us who continue to do what we love. Aren't we the lucky ones?
Listen to this:
Amadeus - Family And Friends or listen w/