I take the final strides of my mid-morning jog across the invisible finish line. I step into the drive next to my apartment building and bend over to catch my breath. I’m a sweaty mess but a slightly proud sweaty mess. An elderly gentleman with glasses approaches, chuckling. He asks a question in German I don’t quite catch. I ask him to repeat it.
“Laufen Sie Marathon?” (Do you run marathons?)
No, I answer. Once upon a time, but not now.
He tells me how he used to exercise – on gymnastic apparatus into his 60s and then regular stretching and running almost every day for years. He’s the secretary of a local gymnastics club.
Do you know how old I am? he asks with a big smile.
I say No as an invitation for him to reveal it to me.
86! he says with verve. Every day I do a little something. That’s the way I keep myself going.
You are an example worth following, I tell him. He seems pleased with this and begins his trek uphill.
I wonder to myself when I’ll reach that age that I’m eager to quiz people about how old I am. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be in the same or better shape than my neighbor when the time comes.