Growing Older: Reader Essay by Susan Loyd

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

At a friend’s retirement party, we raised our glasses, “Here’s to Jerry!”

I shouted from the other end of the table. “Hey, do you have any regrets?”

“Not a one!” Jerry replied. “Do you?”

“I’ve always wanted to be a sprinter!” At almost 50 years of age, that was embarrassing to say out loud.

Jerry challenged, “Then, why don’t you try it? There’s track competition for old people called the Senior Games.”

Wow! In that instant, the challenge ignited me and a few days later I found myself stumbling onto a track in pursuit of a lifelong dream. After joining a running group and slowly working up to the 100 meter, 200 meter, and finally 400 meter dashes, it was no longer daunting. Every practice made me stronger and more confident.

Twelve years later, I have raced in dozens of meets, including 12 national masters’ championships, four world championships and, yep, even open NCAA meets as an “unattached” athlete.

My standard joke when asked about the late start: “I’ve been red-shirting for more than 40 years. Four more years of eligibility!”

More than medals, titles, or accolades, the best prizes of all are: refreshed self-confidence from trying something brand new; a healthy lifestyle with regular activity and purpose; many new friends, young and old; and a different concept of aging: It’s NEVER too late to follow your dream!

You never know when the Universe is going to tap you on the shoulder and say, “What are you waiting for? Go for it!”

- Susan Loyd (B.A. ’81), Edina


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