The Crazy Things You Do When You Turn 40!
I turned the big four-O last October. I still have a hard time thinking of myself as being 40. In my mind, I'm really only about 32. Turning 40 wasn't the big, traumatic life event that it seems to be for some of my friends, and getting old really doesn't bother me, I think because I'm pretty happy with where my life is at the moment.
Instead, 40 was like a wake up call - as in, "Hey, wake up! You are halfway through your life! What is it that you want to accomplish?!" This feeling first hit me last winter - about 10 months before my 40th birthday. I was going through some old pictures and came across a shot of myself bungee jumping
off the bridge over the River Zambezi (at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe). My first reaction was "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I jumped from that height," and my second was "boy am I glad I did that in my early 30's, because I'm not sure I'd have the guts to do it today!"
Thus began a chain of events that led to the beginnings of a bucket list for me. I've never had a bucket list before. I always felt like I had done the things I wanted to do - learned to speak fluently in another language (Spanish), traveled the world and seen things like the Great Pyramids of Egypt, lived and worked abroad (in Spain), completed a triathlon, etcetera. In general, if I want to do something, I do it and I don't let fear or doubt hold me back. Or so I thought!
As I sat there looking at the picture of myself bungee jumping, I started thinking about getting old and looking back on life and I wondered - what else would I want to have done before I die? And then it hit me - I wanted to run a marathon. Anyone who knows me will appreciate why this was a big deal. I have never been particularly athletic and have always - all my life - insisted with great conviction that my body was simply not built for running a marathon. I honestly thought it was not possible for me, and that all those other people who run them must be built differently.
I'm not sure why, but this feeling changed that day and I became convinced that I had to run a marathon, and that it had to be done that year. To make a