The effects of aging are prominently portrayed in our society, in television ads, movies, newspaper accounts, all repeating the general belief that we decline as we age. One specific claim is that as time’s chronometer spins on, we become too old to participate in things such as challenging athletic endeavors. We’re asked to accept the notion that some physical activities become too hard for us as older people. This depressing belief has a sneaky companion: “Competing in sporting events is only for young people.” My recent experiences gave me the opportunity to disprove these claims, through the understanding I’ve gained from Christian Science about God and how He has created us.
In running competitions, awards are given for “open category” and “masters category” winners. “Master” is a euphemism for “older,” but I like the adjective. “Master” suggests greater skill and special wisdom, and one who has dominion over life’s challenges. I also like the verb “to master,” which suggests success in overcoming a challenge, such as—in my case—fear.
Last year, 400 other swimmers and I had signed up in the “open category” for a 2.4-mile swimming race that crossed a large lake. There was no separate category for older swimmers. My training had been mostly in an indoor swimming pool with clear water, no wind, and no waves. It had been years since I’d been on a swim team, and I was more than a little rusty.