When I was in my early twenties, while out throwing a disc with my dad, we had a conversation about fitness and how well joints and muscles can manage the strain put on them. I was still in the sweet-spot where I could run almost as much as I wanted, spend less time on stretching and recovery than was wise, and be ready to do it all again the next day. Since then I have realised this is not a sustainable practice. Our conversation ended with my dad sporting a wide smile on his face and saying; “Just wait, wait until you turn thirty.”
Two years ago I turned thirty. It seemed my body was managing to hold together well enough. I experience injuries every so often, which comes with playing sport to a relatively high level, but I take the time to see my physio when needed and rest when I am able. I don’t make the best decision I can every time there is a decision to be made, but I work on moving closer to that point each day.
Things have changed though. Injuries take a little longer to heal. Effective sleep seems harder to come by, and falling asleep is not an easy activity even when I’m ridiculously tired. And though I’m wiser than I was, sometimes it still feels like everything goes wrong at the same time and my physical wellbeing might be about to fall apart.
The latest group of physical ailments has been caused by a rise in sedentary living due to lockdown, and only just starting to play ultimate again after the enforced, extended break. My achilles are both tired, my calf muscles tighten up more easily than they used to, and my right heel has responded poorly to a heavy impact. Thankfully, I have managed to stay motivated to do a simple yoga routine most days, and certainly every day after I play sport or go for a long walk. What makes the routine easier to stick with is it was put together by people who know more about stretching than I, and it follows a logical sequence. My body feels the strain more than it used to but I look after it as well at I am able.
Something else I believe has helped me maintain good physical health is not drinking alcohol. Thanks to my current housemates, one of whom knows how to make a proper gin and tonic, I have to admit I now drink one of these every six months. Though, I do still prefer the non-alcoholic variety. When it comes to food and drink I have a weak spot for biscuits and other sweet treats so am definitely not seeing an example for everyone to follow. What I am doing more as I get older is think intently about the decisions I make and how they impact my wellbeing and that of the environment around me.
To summarise; my dad was right. Things did change when I turned thirty – and not all of them for the better. One thing that has changed is my perception of what I see as important, for me and for the works around me, and where I focus my effort. Motivation will not magically find me. Instead, I put in the hard work to finish writing my books (watch this space), keep myself fit and able enough to play ultimate, and create and bring to life beautiful musical creations.
I have a long way to go before these things have any possibility of becoming a way for me to make a living, but I can see it happening – if I keep working hard.
What things have changed for you as you get older? Is there a mindset shift that could help you get closer to where you want to be?
I’m interested in your thoughts so leave a comment below and we’ll get a conversation going!