On my birthday just recently, I experienced a disconnect between the joy of being the birthday girl and the reality of being, frankly, older than I’ve ever been before. One day, I’m scoring goals in the back garden. The next thing I know, I sit down with an audible Oof! at every possible opportunity.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t always appreciate how fast things are changing until something pulls you up short. Like the photo that shows how short you are compared with your children. Or a birthday card like this one.
What presents might be heading my way? Another pair of slippers, maybe, or a voucher for Specsavers. Material gifts lose some of their appeal as the years slip by, as does blowing out candles on a birthday cake. I don’t have that kind of puff. Or a fire extinguisher to hand.
But I’m not a grumpy old thing who pads around in her gardening clothes and moans about the passing years. On my birthday I dressed up in my new shoes.
Along with a top from Help the Aged. Don’t tell me the shop is now called Age UK. This purchase goes way back.
I didn’t fancy going out for a celebratory lunch. Not when we have so much in the fridge, and the tarragon on the patio is doing so well this year that it’s a shame not to use it. So risotto it was.
The old joints may be creakier than they were, but I can’t complain. Getting older is a privilege. Give me a head of grey hair and as many laughter lines as Mick Jagger (though, come to think of it, nothing is that funny).
Health problems become more likely as the years pass, but then ill health can strike at any age. Having worked in paediatric rheumatology, I can see just how challenging mobility issues can be at a young age. And of course there are many other conditions that can become limiting.
That’s why I’m delighted to get behind the new campaign from Sport England. It doesn’t have to involve a sport. #WeAreUndefeatable aims to help the two thirds of people with health conditions increase their physical activity in any way they can.
I’d need a really long blog post to cram in all the benefits of moving more. Instead, watch this lot living every moment. The clip lasts just 30 seconds.
If you have a long-term condition, or know anyone who does, please take a look at some of the inspiration at We Are Undefeatable.