Nothing makes you feel older than hearing about other old people doing stuff you could not do in your prime.

Brett Favre turned 40 this year. Not a big deal, except for the fact he is a quarterback in the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings are hanging their Super Bowl hopes on his aging shoulders.

He is playing professional football, and I am falling asleep in the chair at home.

Sure, I am seven years older, but I bet at 47 he'll have more energy than me, and at this rate may still be playing.

Ken Griffey Jr. just signed to play another year of baseball with the Seattle Mariners, and he turns 40 this month.

At 40, I was finishing up playing days in a rec softball league, and glad it was over.

When I was a boy, I used to look up to all these athletes who were men. Then the gap began to close, but still these athletes were older than I was.

Soon after that, I was watching college athletics with men and women who were my age, just better athletes.

Now, I have lapped these athletes. Young men and women play collegiate and professional sports, and I am old enough to be their father.

But that does not make me feel as inadequate as watching my peers run around on fields better than I did 25 years ago.

Mariano Rivera, the great New York Yankee pitcher, wants to pitch five more years, retiring at age 45.

I would have loved to retire at 45 or 25 but the pay scales for journalists and athletes differ greatly.

It used to be athletes hit their prime around 30, then it became early 30s, but now they can play at a high level late into their 30s and now into their 40s.

I am trying to use this as some sort of inspiration.

I keep telling myself that if athletes can play competitive sports in their 40s, I ought to be able to make it through an hour workout five days a week.

And actually, that's not the issue. Exercise I can handle, I just need to put down the M&M's.

If life were fair, chocolate would flow from the fountain of youth and watching TV would be good for you.

I came to terms a long time ago with the fact I would never grow up to be Reggie Jackson, or even Tito Jackson, but a little faster metabolism would be nice. Too bad you can't take a screw driver and with half a turn make an adjustment on your body.

But nothing is that easy, even if some make it appear that way.

I am sure Favre, Griffey and Rivera have their aches and pains and days when they wonder if it is all worth it.

Then they probably walk outside their homes and someone wants an autograph or they look at their bank statements and they get back on the treadmill.

So without those forms of inspiration, I guess I'll just have to find my own.

Maybe just watching these 40-year-olds run around like they were 20 should make me feel inspired. After all, I may not be able to play professional sports, but I can be a little healthier.

I sure am going to miss those M&M's, though.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.