The Birthday Test, age plays no favorites.

Many years ago I started an annual personal birthday test. The idea was that if I could get out of bed on the 29th of July in the middle of the South African winter, and run a half marathon on my own, life must be good. Despite any evidence to the contrary.

It gave me a wonderful sense of achievement and dare I say it, a smug satisfaction.

As the saying goes…’whatever floats your boat.”

I guess all things are relative.Copy of IMSA.run

Stupidly one year I stretched out my goal after suffering a splendid brainfart. Why not run the corresponding distance to my age every year…what a stupendous, (in retrospect; childishly idealistic) idea.

And so, after my 30th birthday, the inevitable occurred.The chances of me attaining my yearly goal became as strong as my chances of winning an argument with a woman.

Perhaps I should have aimed at 42km, and then subtracted a kilometer each year after that to work back down.

I’ll have to save that idea for my next lifetime. You know, the one where I return as a gazelle.

And so I failed the test for a number of years. In fact I didn’t even pitch up at the start line.

This year however was different. Being more determined than ever to regain some running fitness, I completed the 21km before work on my birthday.

To some it might not be a significant achievement, but to me it was.

That was until I remembered the ego-obliterating words of a colleague on the eve of my birthday, “I suppose it’s better than some other tests you might have to put yourself through at your age.”A+healthcare+provider+donning+a+pair+of+latex+gloves

On my 44th birthday she might be depressingly correct. So next year I will forgo the half marathon test in favor of the prostate exam… Ouch. Age is a bitch who wears latex gloves.

My terrible little secret.

I had my Mom in the car with me, and I was itching to do it. It’s my habit, my addiction, my terrible affliction. I knew I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, she’d judge me and chastise me, 

Admonish me like a naughty little boy again. 

Just the other day I looked up from the little screen and had to swerve to avoid driving into the chevrons on the side of the road. My heart pounding as I guiltily tossed the phone onto the passenger seat. A minor lapse I thought. Thank goodness there were no other cars on the road. No one to witness, nobody to see me. I’m probably just tired, it’s late, and I’ve just climbed off a plane.

Besides, I’m a great driver. I can handle a phone and a steering wheel simultaneously. The Multitasking King. I’m better than the rest. It won’t happen again.o-TEXTING-DRIVING-facebook

But that’s how all addictions flourish, that little voice in your head that whispers, “You’re still in control. You can stop any time you choose.”

I’ve even assuaged my guilty conscience by convincing myself that catching up on social media posts is OK. After all, I’m not texting, and isn’t that what all the fuss is about?

Driving robot to robot, waiting for the car to roll to a standstill and then reaching for the phone. Watching the road, constantly waiting for a straight stretch of road, less traffic, perfect conditions to get my fix. 

But it is never OK. 

No matter how good a driver you are, no matter how fleeting the glances at the screen. It is just a matter of time. One text and one update closer to the inevitable. 

Of course my mom would be right; I just don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to admit it either. Don’t want you to know…finally-thumbs-down-things-you-dislike-facebook.1280x600

But it is time. I am lucky that thus far my terrible habit hasn’t cost me. Yes lucky. Not skilled, not clever, not smart. Not better than anybody else who has caused an accident, taken a life, lost a life.

Just plain lucky! 

So now you all know. I admit that I have a terrible habit. My secret is out. 

And so it ends, because from today, I promise that I am done. I’m going cold turkey. 

And I’m asking for help. 

If you’re close enough to me to know when I am driving, and you suspect that I am breaking my promise, I’m asking you to challenge me, be hard with me. 

 And I am challenging you to do the same. Give it up. Come clean. Be grateful that you’ve been lucky too. feeling-lucky

Please don’t wait for your luck to run out…

You do it because ‘driving is such dead time…’

There’s something there, don’t you think?