I had planned to ride my bike this morning before work and didn't hear the rain until after I dressed in bike clothes. I waffled about changing into work clothes and going to straight to work but I decided that I would be crabbier skipping the bike ride than getting wet for an hour or so. After all, I keep a towel at work for those unplanned dampening events.
When I got to the trail head I told myself that I only had to ride up the first hill and down so at the very least I would feel like I did something. When I ride alone, which is frequently, I listen to various podcasts, mostly to stay out of my own head. This morning I listened where the topic came up about people in their 70's and 80's continuing to participate in the activity they love. This particular example was competitive trail riding (horseback), where a man well into his 70's does a 60-mile competitive ride every other weekend.
I have to say, at that point there was no way I was going to turn around and go back after I rode up the first hill. If a 77-year old can continue to competitively ride 60 miles then I can continue a pleasure bike ride for another half hour or more. At that point, I realized I was training for my old age.
Let me be clear that my retirement is a long way off -- closer to 20 years than 10. However, this is the point that those good habits develop. You recognize the benefit of doing things you love and what makes you feel good. You are old enough to reject those things that don't make you feel good, like other people's expectation that don't necessarily feel right for you. You no longer have to justify what you enjoy because you realize that you can enjoy things simply because they stimulate your brain receptors, or whatever. You get to decide what makes you proud and feel accomplished. No one else can do that for you and no one should have that power over you.
I have a simple little ordinary life. Sure, I've done some interesting things but I barely remember them well enough to fabricate an interesting story anymore. What I have is the present and what I have right now. That's the ability to decide to ride my bike in the rain because I'm aware that I'd be crabby if I didn't. And I want to continue to make those decisions when I'm in my 70's, 80's, and if I'm lucky my 90's and beyond. Plus I got to see a coyote skitter off into the brush, which I would've missed had I gone directly to work.