My 45-year-old self has just had one of those epiphanies that I wish my twenty-year-old self could see and work towards sooner rather than later.
I really wish I could get to gormless, prickly, chaste, bolshie-but-dreadfully shy, self-esteemless me of twenty five years ago and show her what life is really about. If I could show her an hour our of my life, it would be the hour I spent in the gym tonight.
First of all, I don't think that 20-year-old me would ever step foot in a gym. Fitness was never on the agenda back then - ever. I'd do lots of walking, but that was about it. The thought of running five kilometres seems impossible to her. It was impossible to me some six years ago.It's so different now. Five half marathons later, running is a state of mind and a necessary endorphin rush. Keeping fit keeps colds, flu and depression at bay. She really could have used that information.
An admission that would have 20-year old me running in the other direction screaming. I started back on week one of the couch potato to five kilometre plan this week. I have to start running from scratch. This is okay. There is no judgment attached. It happened that I got injured. And put on weight, but I've maintained going to the gym three to five times a week. It will come back.Me the younger would have seen this as an admission of failure. I see it as an admission of perseverance and honesty.
20-year-old me was full of self-criticism and judgement.
I had Slap to myself tonight. Normally there is at least one other with me when we train. 45 minutes of being put through your paces. Tonight, Adro was caught at work, Andy was ill and Virgillia was out in the regions, so it was just me and Slap - and Rodriguez playing over the sound system. Boxing, lawnmowers (with a 10 kg weight - upped after I complained about 7 kg dumbells being too light) pushing the sled with 50 kgs on it, TRX band ... normal stuff.
We've got a system with Slap. He gives you something to do, you ask how many, he tells you, half the time in Spanish (he's from Croatia)
Then the nemesis exercise - 500 metres on the rower in under 2.20.
20-year-old me would think I'm mad.
Slap and I went out to the gym floor to attack the rower.
"I have to cane it. Mitch is over there."
"Yes, Mitch is watching you." replied Slap, smirking at me. "You like Mitch".
We'll get to Mitch in a minute. 20-year old me would like Mitch. I'd like Mitch at any age.
So I went for it. 250 meters in a minute. Caned - and blew myself out at my maximum heart rate. But I was on track.
All to try and look good in front of a boy.
20-year-old me wouldn't do this. Too shy to do something stupid like make a fool of myself on the rower.
45-year-old me loves the challenge - doesn't matter who's looking.
The last 250 meters was done at a steadier, less stupid pace - I would have made the 2.20, 500 metres. Just need to learn to take it steady.
It was great to get validated tonight. Slap said, "You and Jay, 53 and 45, you out exercise most if the people I see who are half your ages. It's brilliant."
That felt good.
The other wonderful thing about the gym tonight - Pedro is back. Pedro of the Ricky Martin hips, Spanish accent and best bum in Melbourne. He was taking BodyCombat tonight. Sooo good to have him back in the gym. He makes me smile.
I left the gym after an hour, 350 calories gone, sweating buckets looking tired but happy, the days mascara and eyeliner running down my cheeks. I looked like a lycra clad, sweaty Alice Cooper. After going 45 minutes with my personal trainer I come out looking like this most of the time.
And who should I run into on the way to the supermarket?
I wish I could get my 20-year-old self to learn how to flirt. I can't flirt to save my life. If I had a bit of self-esteem and self-confidence in my twenties I might not be a single, dateless 45-year-old now - who still doesn't have much of a clue.
Mitch and I explained pleasantries. Was I off home? Yes, getting up and on a plane at Sparrows-Fart-O-Clock to get to a word nerd conference in Sydney. Was he off home to chill. Yep. Have a good one. You too.
Arm touch from him. Argh!
Mitch as the nicest set of back muscles I've seen in ages. He's cut. And cute, in a rugby player / tradie way. And he waves at me when he sees me in the gym. And vice versa. We sort of check each other out from across the gym in a quiet sort of way. Not that my body is anything to check out at the moment.
And here I am, a quarter of a century later. I've reverted to my shy, gormless, self-esteemless 20-year-old self who has no idea at all about men. Not that I've ever had any idea about men. I feel like my mother's old pussycat - I have an idea how to catch and play with things - no idea what do do when I've caught them.
Needless to say, and despite all this, I skipped all the way home.
Daft it is. Just daft.
P.S. For my 20-year-old self, I also have these words of wisdom. Best advice anybody can give the young.