I've gone on a few runs since my last post, but you don't need to hear about that. You should hear about Jonathan Mendes. I read about him over at Runners World and was blown away. Let me tell you a few things about this man. First, he is 95 years old and he started running at age 44 when he was told by his doctor to stop smoking. Second, he is a retired Marine Corps Colonel who flew missions in WWII and Korea. Since he started running he has completed 14 marathons and was set to become the oldest man to complete the NYC marathon last Sunday.
Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times
He didn't make it through the course though. After 16 miles he dropped out. “I quit because I started getting some pain in my legs, I called a cab home, had a double scotch, took a shower, and went to sleep.” Is he upset that he didn't make it to the finish line? No. He's been there and done that. Does he like scotch? Yes, so he's awesome in my book. He's had his life threatened in a war. He's been widowed twice. He has been all over the world. Not making it to the end an abstract distance, in this case 26.2 miles, just didn't bother him very much. Talk about perspective.
When asked if he will try again next year he said, "If I am still here and I feel like I can, we will do it once again. Don't tell my children.” The last sentence made me laugh. I hope I can make my kids worry about me when I'm that old.
This man has a sagacious perspective I long for. He will run if he's able. He will try if he can. But he's not too worried about finishing or failing. To him it's just a blessing and privilege to get up and go on a run. He's focused on what he can do, not what he can't. He's focused on what blessings he has, not what he lacks. He said, “I am a very fortunate person, they tell me I have all my marbles. I go in the park every morning around 7:15 a.m. and I say, ‘Hey, God, thank you for good health and a good quality of life.’”
I pray I can have the perspective of this man (hopefully before I'm 95). I pray I can say, 'Hey, God, thank you for good health and a good quality of life', and leave all the other distractions and potential disappointments behind.