...Well, not exactly. But it's often said with a chuckle in the masters athletes community, whether it be track & field, swimming or tennis, that we look forward to each birthday, because it's a step closer to another competitive age division. Let me explain. Masters and open competitors compete in five year age groups.....40-44, 45-49, 50-54, etc. When you are 55, as I am this year, you are the youngest in your age division, in my case the 55-59 group, and in some cases being on the younger end, you have a leg up (pardon the high jumping pun) on other competitors. I say that, but this is definitely not always the case. At some meets, I have been out-jumped by superior women athletes in the 60+ age division and just last year in the NCCWMA event in Costa Rica, at age 54, I won gold over all women in the meet, besting some women jumpers in their 30s and 40s (yes, that was a fist pump you heard). Oh, what a feeling.
But we love moving up an age division. It's a new challenge. It's exciting and full of unknowns! It's a chance to set new records and increase your world ranking. So, in a way, we masters love birthdays, we love growing older.
I read this article in the Wall Street Journal this morning and had to share it. The joyful faces I see at masters track meets fit the positive mindset discussed here. Enjoy!
How to Change The Way You Feel About Aging
Harboring negative stereotypes about getting older can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. These strategies can help improve your mind-set —and your well-being.
BY ANNE TERGESEN
From the Wall Street Journal -- Scientists are discovering something very peculiar about aging: How we feel about getting old matters. A lot. _ In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind. _ That research holds out the possibility for much healthier aging. But it also points to a very big obstacle: Negative stereotypes about aging are pervasive in America. Even many older adults embrace the idea that getting old is a bad thing—which means they’re doing potentially serious harm to their health without realizing it. _ Can we change the way we feel about aging—and improve our prospects for healthier senior years? A growing body of research offers hope.....read more at the Wall Street Journal.
Julia Curran-Villarreal is a three-time USA W55 national masters high jump champion. After a 35-year break from her favorite high school sport of track & field, Julia returned to competition in 2013 at the age of 53. Follow her journey on @juliajumping on Instagram and @juliacurran on Twitter.