Just woke up. I can’t remember the last time I actually took a nap. I used to view them as a waste of time… but right now I feel ages better than I did an hour ago.
I recently celebrated my seventieth birthday by running in my forty-third marathon to date. Every time I attach my PedSoles, I’m greeted with fond memories of how I used to race my little 10 year-old heart out against my octogenarian father and come up short every time. I’d be panting and wheezing while he’d have barely broken a sweat. To me, he was Superman, and I was never prouder than when he’d tousle my hair and say, “Helluva race, Kiddo. You really had me goin’. Keep it up and one day you’re gonna win.” Now I wonder if even he truly believed that. But back then I sure did. I knew that if I left the driving to him, he’d never steer me wrong.
It kills me that I didn’t rediscover running until my late-fifties. Had I started earlier, this could have been my one hundred and forty-third marathon. Advances in wellness science had given me at 70 what would have been the health, strength and vigor of a 35 year-old man at the previous turn of the century. Over the past twenty years of running, I’ve won more than my share of races… but I also realize that just staying in the race makes me a winner nowadays. Maybe this is what Dad had in mind when he told me I’d win one day.
All I ever wanted to do was please Dad and Mom… so the least I can do now, ironic though it may be, is to honor their wishes and keep them right where they wanted to be. Alive.
I’m not sure they imagined themselves as they are now – jacked into a labyrinthine network of plugs and tubes that monitor and feed them while providing round-the-clock neuromuscular stimulation. When I was young, they were bursting with life. For the past fifty years, though, they have been as still and quiet as two photographs that can only conjure up noisy, colorful, wonderful memories.
After this last marathon, I visited their cube, as I promised them I always would on my birthdays. Here I was, at 70, visiting my parents who were technically 120.
Being among the first keepers, my parents were also the oldest. The doctors had always thrown out the caveat that they had no idea what to expect for the future, since no one had ever naturally lived much past 110. Of course, the doctors spun it like some magical panacea – “We have no idea if the aging process will continue normally, halt or even reverse. It’s completely unpredictable.” They also threw in some bullshit speculation about what they called the “curing” of the mind – how we only use 10% of our brain capacity, but that might be because we simply don’t live long enough to allow our brains to fully develop and mature, allowing us to experience all the wonders and mysteries it has to offer… blah, blahdy-blah. Yeah, it just might, Doc.
It just might.
My head’s getting foggy again – the racing thoughts are again fighting for space and attention. I’m determined to finish this thing tonight, though.