Generally, I'm neither especially dismayed nor especially excited when another birthday rolls around - except, that is, when my new age ends with a "9". There's something about knowing I'll have a milestone birthday next year that makes me want to reflect on my life so far and my hopes for the future.
I took up running shortly after my 40th birthday when, dismayed by the fact that I'd put on 20 pounds in a matter of months and suffering from painful back issues, I went with a friend to a Running Room "Learn to Run" clinic. Four marathons and eight half marathons later, I still can't believe I've become a runner - a slow runner, but still a runner. And I'll always be more grateful than I can say to my friend and to the instructors who got me through my first year on the road when - despite all the laughter and camaraderie - running mostly just felt like hard work.
Nearly nine years later, running (even on bad days) is a lot more fun. And it's given me so much - improved health, great new friends, and a sense of accomplishment - not to mention the opportunity to make a difference by raising funds for worthwhile causes and encouraging others to be more active.
If I have my way, I'll still be running 40 years from now. I understand the Boston Marathon qualifying time for women over 80 years old is a reasonable 5 hrs 25 mins. (Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?)