I’m 39 today, which strikes me as odd. This is the last year of my 30s. That’s bizarre, right? I mean, there are still days where I don’t feel like I know anything more than I knew at 19. But the best news is that I’m just one year away from moving up one age group in my races. I’m thinking that if I keep training, I should be able to nail a top three finish in my age group by the time I’m in my 70s. Maybe 80s. We’ll see how it goes.
Anyway, I’m here in Boston, spending my birthday in a conference room, which isn’t exactly a lifelong dream. But it’s a great conference and I’m here with some fabulous friends.
Here are some things I’ve learned in the last 20 years.
- At 19: I was a college girl with a small circle of friends.
- At 39: I can fly 3,000 miles and attend a conference where everybody knows my name, and they’re always glad I came. (Yeah, a Cheers reference really dates me, doesn’t it?)
- At 19: I couldn’t run down the block without getting winded.
- At 39: I’ve completed three half marathons, countless 5k races, an 8k and two 12k trail races. I’m a Team in Training captain. 19-year-old me would be shocked. 39-year-old me still is, just a little.
- At 19: I figured I’d be at least 39 before I got married.
- At 39: I’ve been happily married for 14 years. (Yes, to the same guy.)
- At 19: I knew how to cook three meals in my dorm room using a hot pot and a toaster oven; two of them involved pasta.
- At 39: I post an endless stream of recipes on a blog, and try new things weekly.
- At 19: I could have regaled you with a litany of superficial things about my body that needed to be changed.
- At 39: Who has time for that? I don’t have to look like a model because I’m not a model. (Shocking, I know.) I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’m certainly not going to obsess about my freckles, my breasts or that birthmark.
- At 19: I didn’t have a passport.
- At 39: I’ve taken my kid to four countries in five years. Both of us could be packed and out the door in 20 minutes if you gave us the opportunity.
- At 19: I went to the TV lounge every night to watch Letterman as an evening study break.
- At 39: Who can stay up late enough to watch Letterman?
- At 19: I rarely wore makeup.
- At 39: Ok, this hasn’t changed much. I’m traveling with nothing more than eyeliner and lip gloss. But good eyeliner and good lip gloss. I have standards.
- At 19: I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.
- At 39: I still don’t know what I want to be, but I’m ruling things out as I go.
What have you learned about yourself in the last 20 years or so?