I'm 31 years old but today I was reminded how much I still think of myself as basically the same person I was when I was a kid. I started running track in the 7th grade and I was bad. Really bad. Like... usually-finished-near-last-place bad. I had little-to-no athletic ability. Luckily, they didn't have tryouts for track. Everyone made the team and they didn't kick anyone off. I Loved it.
Today I caught myself wondering what they think of this old guy trying to sprint around the track. I wondered if they were mocking me. I realized I was assuming that I was being judged. When I was leaving, I passed one of the coaches and said, "Good morning." He said good morning back and told me, "The kids were impressed with that workout!" It caught me off guard and I stumbled through an awkward reply but tried to say thanks.
When I got to my car, I realized I was even questioning whether the coach was serious or if he was somehow making fun of me too. It hit me that, in my head, I'm still the kid finishing at the back of the pack in high school. I felt like the dorky old guy running laps while the younger, cool guys laughed under their breath. How sad is that? I've told people not to be intimidated by going to their local track for a workout. People tend to be very accepting of all speeds and skill levels and are generally really nice to each other at the track. So, why was I feeling self-conscious running while these kids were there? Apparently, it's hard to change your self-image.