The Wonder Years (or why ageing maybe isn’t so terrible after all-maybe)

Today I was listening to Radio 1 Xtra (I know what you’re thinking – isn’t she a bit old to be listening to that?) when the dj, an enthusiastic chap with a penchant for substituting every other word with “cuz” (yup, definitely too old) began bemoaning the speeding up of time as people get older. “I mean cuz,” he said, “I’m only twenty six and already it feels like a week goes by in a day. Imagine being, like, fifty! How bad would it be then?” How bad indeed.

When it comes to whining about ageing I’m hardly one to talk. Until I reached my current age of *coughs* thirty two I’d always enjoyed lavish birthday celebrations, but as my thirty third hurtles towards me at alarming speed (that dj was right, dagnamit) I must confess I’m feeling hugely (and that’s an understatement) underwhelmed (I am also aware, at this point in proceedings, that older readers may well be gnashing their teeth and branding metaphorical claw hammers positioned directly above my skull). The logical part of my brain is constantly telling me that there’s nothing I can do to stop the process so I may as well accept it, yet I can’t stop fixating on my frown lines long enough to listen to it.

If it’s true that you’re only as old as the man you feel then I’m twenty seven all over again. Though, in all seriousness and as great as it is, being a woman who is five years older than her partner is not without its challenges. Fortunately I’ve always been young for my years in both spirit and looks (an old soul I most certainly am not) and so, for the time being at least, it suits me to be living a youthful and relatively unencumbered lifestyle. But that’s not to say I don’t continually worry whether what I do is age appropriate, or draw constant comparisons with my peer group, many of whom are now playing out the traditional marriage and 2.4 children scenario with aplomb. Don’t get me wrong, I want that myself desperately, and not in the TOO distant future either (cover your ears darling), but right now the thought of sleepless nights, snotty noses and nappies is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. I want to go on more adventures before I settle down, to live a bit more and eke out just a bit more time for being selfish. But what about convention and my biological clock? Wahhhh!

Then, in the midst of all these brain-churning thoughts, I stop. And a realisation dawns on me. No matter how old we get, those of us who do keep ageing are the lucky ones. So many people’s lives are tragically cut short before they have a chance to worry about worry lines, or contemplate the future of their relationship or career. As the Buddhist way of thinking goes, when all is said, done and worried about (I made that last bit up), all we have is this very moment – so what’s the point of worrying about a future that we cannot guarantee?

And so, in light of the above (and ignoring the current agony I’m in with no doubt age-related back issues) maybe it isn’t quite my time to switch over to Radio 2 after all. Isn’t that right, Cuz?



The Belle is Back (Ache Central)

I’ve returned from my self-imposed social media exile, however there are currently more pressing matters at hand than catching up on a month of people’s Facebook news feeds. What could that possibly be? I hear you cry. I’ll tell you what: Pulling off a miraculous five day recovery from acute back pain in time to run this weekend’s Rome marathon.

That’s right, after 19 long weeks of preparation and training my body has finally succumbed to the strain and has, for the past week, been categorically refusing to do anything other than hurt. A lot. I’ll admit I didn’t help myself with a day of skiing in Sweden at the weekend but I honestly thought I was on the mend. How wrong I was. Since then things have gone downhill to the point of needing round the clock ibuprofen, paracetamol and codeine.

But I haven’t come this far to give up now, no siree. Last week there were tears and hysterics, this week it’s positive mental attitude all the way. There are still four full days to recover, and I’m determined to throw every last grenade of wellbeing at this situation: Massages, stretches, reiki, Epsom salt baths – anything at all. It feels awful not being able to run but even the professionals are telling me that rest is my only hope of being race fit come this Sunday, so who am I to argue? All I can do is hope and pray I’ve done enough to make it across that finish line. Positive vibes from my lovely followers would be very welcome and gratefully received (as would donations here). The race is, quite literally, on.