So I was clearing out some old work clothes to make room in my wardrobe for new gym kit (what else?!)
and not only were most of the items a size smaller than I wear now, but they were clothes
I was wearing in my mid to late 20s. This triggered in me a little emotional wobble that
I am grappling with at the moment. Am I a grown up now that I have put away the clothes from my 20s,
the likes of which never to be worn again? And what about my body? Is it all too much hard work to
stay in shape now, am I just battling the sands of time on the route to becoming decrepit?
Do I want the body of my 20s, or even my teens, back?
Who hasn’t watched a teenage girl stuffing a bacon sandwich in her mouth,
crop top on, with not even the ability to comprehend how a decade and a half will change her body.
I want to go wag my finger at her and tell her how easy it all is at her age.
This then makes me start to feel old. A few nagging questions start to poke at my self-confidence.
Am I too old to have Taylor Swift’s new album on repeat in my car?
Do I have to let go of the hope that I might be famous like Taylor one day?
Am I really a grown up like the other Mums at the school gates? Will it ever be appropriate to wear a mini skirt again?
What is my age and what does it mean? I am 32.
So I know you may have just tutted or sighed and thought “Oh to be 32 again!” and “She is being ridiculous,
she is not old at all.” Stay with me here, this is getting good now [ironic song lyric quote intended].
I often ask myself why I didn’t start my fitness journey in my teens or early 20s.
I could have been so much better than I am now, right? I could have been world class (and famous!) at, erm…,
something…, maybe. Hindsight is the most beautifully useless concept in the world.
But it does not always ring true in reality. I have come to terms with the fact that my genetics were probably
the major sticking point when it came to being an Olympic athlete (I’m 4ft 11) and
I may well have never had to inclination to undertake all the training required to be world class anyway!
I don’t know, there are a whole lot of ‘what ifs’ in life and you are only wasting time mourning
after something that may never have been anyway. But at 32, what I do know is that my
body can do things now that I have never been able to do in the past.
I hated P.E. at school. Hated it. I hated the coolest girls who played hockey and the slightly-less cool girls who played netball. Cliques wasn’t the word, imagine Mean Girls in green sweaters.
Year on year I managed to brandish a letter from my Mum excusing me from the school’s annual cross-country run. I didn’t like running and had no intention to be humiliated any further at school.
(They used to call me the Milky Bar Kid – see photo below!) Now I take part in half-marathons for fun. My weedy little legs from my school days are now strong enough to carry me around 13.1 miles
in less than 2 hours. I’d like to see some of those smoking (and I don’t mean smokin’) hockey girls keep up.
I hated Sports Days at school too. Literally everyone had to take part in their year group 100m race and
I had neither the leg length nor power to beat anyone. Suffice to say it was a major embarrassment every year.
Now I love training sprint intervals and you have to be fairly sprightly to outsprint me!
My body, my confidence and my self-belief capabilities were not ready at school, or even into my 20s,
to develop my fitness potential to the level it is now.
So, whereas we may hold the belief that our prime years for exercise are in our 20s and if we miss those,
our fitness ship has sailed. Not true. I was not ready then. Now is the time that I am in the best shape of my life.
And I am not just fit and healthy for my age, I am fitter and healthier than ever before. It is never too late to
shake off the bad memories of school P.E. lessons and start your fitness journey now.
(aka. The Milky Bar Kid no longer)