I grew up with the term skinny frequently used as a descriptor when I was a child. Like most women, and many men, I focussed on my perceived body-image when I was young and seemed to be frequently apologizing for my size. Social judgement creates lots of assumptions and myths. One assumption is that thin must equal fit. I was, relatively, when I was young. I was lucky, for a long time. Then age began to hit me.
Now this is not a rant about growing older: I actually love aging. I love the personal power I am growing into as I age. I love the letting go of crap stuff that no longer serves me (that actually never served me, like worrying so much about what I looked like, or how I could make sure everyone liked me), I even love the wrinkles (although I’m struggling a bit with how gravity is being a bit too bossy for my liking). What I don’t like is how my bones are not healthy. A bone scan, whilst still in my 40s, showed Osteopenia – bone loss that can lead to Osteoporosis. This was my wake up call. That growing into my power piece… well now, I had to act on it.
I had to work on getting fit. I was suddenly feeling old before my time. I felt my body was betraying me. I had seen too many relatives and friends struggling with pain in older age linked to decline in bone density.
The rest of my family are active. I would choose the sofa over a run any day. Now, there is still a vocal part of me that would choose the sofa over a run any day… but she doesn’t run the show any more (‘run’ the show… I’m a natural wit!).
I have learnt to…um, let’s say… appreciate running. I appreciate how it helps me come back to my body (to connect and value my body)… to escape my mind for a little while, and ground myself. I appreciate the sense of accomplishment it gives me when I have finished. I appreciate the feeling in my muscles when I have stretched myself a little bit more than I thought I could. I love the feeling as my body gets stronger, and the confidence and sense of power this gives me. I appreciate the people I have met through running, who have joined my village… many of who run marathons, and are so gracious, helpful and knowledgeable as I struggled with learning to run, then my first race – a 5km, then a 10km, a half-marathon, and my new goal – a marathon. I appreciate how running has helped me edit my story: I am no longer the lazy one, no longer the inactive one. I have expanded my comfort zone and my image of myself has changed incredibly.
I am finally beginning to call myself a Runner. It feels good. I like this new story I am writing.
What have you done that helps you recognize you are more than your original story?