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50-K Photo contest, and What Hill are You Over?

by donmcgrath

Terry "Unigeezer" Peterson in his "Active Life" T-shirt

Inspired by the amazing health of the over 50 athletes that I interviewed for “Lesson for a Strong, Healthy Life from 50 Athletes Over 50″, I created the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge to help people live a more active and healthy life. One part of the mission of the 50-k Challenge is to reward people who take the initiative and join the Challenge, so I’m sponsoring a contest where members can win $300 or an iPod by submitting photo’s with their “Active Life” T-shirts, which other members will vote on. You can see more details about the contest at http://50-k.net/contests/my-active-life-t-shirt-contest. Don’t wait, since voting closes December 17th, 2009 at 5pm Mountain time. Be creative and have fun. I can’t wait to see the cool photos you submit.

A few weeks ago I was out for a run and thinking about a comment someone made to me the previous day about being “Over the hill.” I began thinking about what that meant and I got this visual of one long, steady hill that crests and then descends. The more I thought about this as an analogy to life, the more ridiculous it seemed. For me, and all the athletes that I interviewed, life is a 3-D landscape peppered with an incredible and diverse terrain. The thought of a steady climb and decent is ludicrous, for all but the most unfortunate.

I think back on my own life and think of the hills that I’ve climbed, some that I’ve chosen and some that were thrust upon me by pure chance. Examples; when I was 7 years old, my dad died of lung cancer, which was a hill I definitely had not chosen. When I was in high school and enrolled in a training program to become an electrician, budget cuts in the school system caused the 2nd year of the program to be cut, leaving me in a quandary about my future profession. While hills not chosen, these are part of the landscape of my life and have made me who I am today. The loss of my father had a profound impact on how I lead my life, in that I am very aware that life isn’t fair and that it is precious and should be milked for every last ounce of juice every single day. When the electrician’s course I was taking was cancelled, I looked around and saw all my friends were going to college, and figured that I should give that a try. That turn of events has led me on an educational journey that included getting my Ph.D. and now writing a book.

I have also chosen my share of hills. I chose to go to college and graduate school, get married, write a book, climb Washington’s Column in Yosemite, be a competitive runner, change jobs and move to Colorado, get divorced, buy a house, learn to play the banjo, get remarried… you get the idea.

So, next time you hear someone talk about being over the hill, ask them “which hill are you over?”

Enjoy the crazy, unpredictable landscape of your life, embracing the hills you choose and those you don’t. Ride on!

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