Gratitude (or Happiness is a Warm Run)

As you hit your 40s, you begin to notice a significant proportion of the people you know start to either get ill, or bits start falling off.

Particularly among the women who’ve had children.

Even the athletes you know, the ones who run 40 miles at a time, or a half marathon during their lunch break, start to suffer from perpetual injuries because their bodies just can’t hack the pace any more. This wasn’t entirely what I was expecting from this decade.

I recently went for lunch with a friend I’ve known for years, who was 40 this year. She’s putting off a major operation because she’s still got a toddler at home. To make her feel better I showed her my hearing aids. Yes, it’s not a glamorous look. If you used to get called the Greta Garbo of the sixth form, it may not go with that version of your self image. However, I wear them. It helps me hear ‘Will you empty the dishwasher?’ instead of ‘Will you have a chocolate biscuit?’. It avoids my husband thinking I’m being selectively deaf. I’m not saying I don’t occasionally practice selective deafness anyway but…….

I have genetic hearing loss, inherited from my Dad’s side of the family and I fully expect to be completely stone deaf in my 80s. Glasses seem to be socially acceptable at this age, but hearing aids are not. There are a lot of adverts on hidden versions and comments on how you can’t really see mine. I’ve now lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with people where they’ve admitted ‘yes I need some of those’ or ones that go something like this:

Waitress: ‘The quiche on special today is the leek, mushroom and creme fraiche’
Me: (with my hearing aids) ‘Ok thank you’
Friend in 40s: ‘What was that?’
Me: (laughs): ‘What did you just say to me about needing hearing aids?’

Maybe it’s because they’re my friends, but the way most people I know deal with their problems is to use humour. In my experience the women are fairly blunt with one another. Friends with pelvic floor issues that will affect their performance on the dance floor and need to *ahem*, prepare in advance, will tell you. You will laugh (with them), until you cry. You will share whatever it is that also bothers you and you will console each other.

Others will get really sick. Someone close to me has had breast cancer and has been in treatment for the last year. She has very small children and I don’t know how she’s done it. Her prognosis looks good but she remains the reason I’m making myself run a long race for charity in the Autumn. As readers who have seen this post will know, I love running, so it’s not a hardship and I don’t need anyone to say well done. I am also running it because I want to stay fit for as long as possible and I will carry on doing so for as long as I can.

Sweaty woman in skin tight neon don’t look glamorous either but I’m thankful I’m not doing so badly and that I’m able to carry on laughing with my friends.

Gratuitous use of laughing Buddha. Whatever's happening in your life, he made you smile didn't he? Photo credit:  MichaelKuhn_pics / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Gratuitous use of laughing Buddha. Whatever’s happening in your life, he made you smile didn’t he?
Photo credit: MichaelKuhn_pics / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

44 thoughts on “Gratitude (or Happiness is a Warm Run)

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha…Yes, when my Bible study group (briefly) met to workout before our study, we all made a pit stop first – suddenly gasping for breath during jumping jacks and skipping ropes are no longer the main concern! And the women love my aging/menopause jokes at Morning Break…the older the lady, the harder they laugh. I love it!

    • I feel very fortunate not to be afflicted in that department.

      And I await the joy of the new material generated by the menopause. Hopefully for some considerable time 🙂

  2. I’m 45, and I thought the time right around 40 was the hardest. I had always taken good health for granted, and suddenly I felt like I was falling apart. Five years later, i feel much better- mentally too. I take better care of myself now, and I’ve become more used to the hormonal fluctuations and weird aches and pains.
    My dad was deaf in one ear, from being hit with a baseball when he was young. He hated his hearing aid, and preferred to live in his own little world, which I can sort of understand since he had five loud daughters. Anyway, I grew up thinking it was normal to yell all the time, and I’ve had to learn to talk more softly!

    • I’m not falling apart – except a few niggling things – but very surprised by the numbers of friends who’ve begun to. I’m trying my best to look after myself as I think it pays off later.

      The story of your Dad made me remember my Grandad. He regularly took his hearing aids out when we all got a bit too high pitched 🙂

  3. I’m 42 and have had children, and now you’ve got me really worried that bits are going to start dropping off me any day now! 😉

    I had never thought about that before, how glasses are totally socially acceptable, and yet hearing aids have such a stigma attached to them. Glasses aren’t just acceptable, they are often cool and designer! People are perfectly happy to say they are short sighted or whatever, but they aren’t nearly so ready to admit they have hearing problems. How weird!

    • It is weird. I think it is something to do with the association with old age that doesn’t seem to be there with sight issues. Talking about it seems to have helped a few others (older and younger) to think about going t o the doctors though 🙂

      As for bits falling off – for women that risk seems to increase exponentially with the number of children you’ve had so you’re probably safe there. For my male friends it’s the over doing the teamsports in their younger days that’s coming back to bite them on the bum 🙂

  4. Even though I’ve been working out for years, I looked at my legs the other day and thought, “These are not 25 year old legs anymore.” And then I decided to cut them some slack since they’ve been hauling me around for almost 40 years.

  5. As you get older you will laugh even more! I’m laughing 24/7…It’s either that or cry. I prefer laughing at myself and going with the flow. Thanks for sharing your personal story about your hearing. I admire your positive outlook. 🙂

    • As you know too well, there are plenty worse things I could be dealing with. So I suppose the hearing thing is one I’m just accepting gracefully.

  6. I have to say, I find being fifty just so much easier than being forty. Honestly! Taking up running has helped-I`m thrilled that my body can actually do that and has never been as fit before.
    The kids getting older helps enormously. I don`t lose as much sleep over them, they can feed themselves reasonably well in my absence, they can entertain themselves too, so yes, loads more me time.
    The biggest thing though, is that I really value being well and healthy now. And I also want to crank out as much fun and learning as possible into these years.
    Lovely, thought provoking post. Thank you!

  7. Thank you very much for running that run. Having survived breast cancer, it’s much appreciated.
    Things do start to slow down. I’m only mid 30’s but I have noticed my knees don’t like me as much as they use to.

  8. Gratuitous Buddha is great. He made me read this post- well done! I personally think I’m at my hottest (at 40) when clad in sweaty neon. I may be alone in this belief, but I hold my head high. Especially since no one can tell some of that sweat might be pee.

  9. Great post. When you think about it, 40 and 50 was old age not so long ago and we haven’t evolved since then, only our life style has changed. Bits, as you said, are falling off and wearing out. Thankfully I never jogged so I’m thinking when I hit 40 in 4 years time, my knees will be ok. Everything else is up for grabs.

  10. Hi there! Just stopping by because I haven’t “seen” you in a while and this was your last post. I tend to be a worry wort and got concerned. I hope all is okay with you and that life’s crazy schedule is what is keeping you away. (Concerned across the ocean). 🙂

  11. Oh thank you 🙂 I’m fine. I found I couldn’t keep this going over the Summer with looking after my three children and then somehow I just haven’t started again. The main thing was keeping up with the reading!
    I’ve also got some freelance work. I have missed blogging though and been pondering whether to stay or go….

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