Fun at 41!
A lot can happen in just one year & even more can happen in two! Two years ago I was 39. Two years ago I did not own a pair of joggers let alone a pair of tights. Two years ago I could not do a sit up. Two years ago my journey with real food lead me to a journey with fitness……a journey with fitness and a whole lot more…..a journey that has revealed so much of me I have forgotten, or never knew.
Upon overcoming my excuses & fears I took the risk of stepping out of my comfort zone to start crossfit……and now two years on, at the age of 41, I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been in my life. With my 2-year crossfit anniversary clocking over today, the past month has been a time of reflection & a time of emotion.
A year ago I explored the real reasons behind my lifetime avoidance of physical exercise. Re-reading my blog post “A better version at 40” (read here) that I wrote just one year ago, has been a timely reminder of some important messages to myself. Messages to face those fears. To overcome those excuses. To keep making time for “you”. You are important. You are enough. Celebrate the small things. Focus on the journey. Enjoy every moment without looking too far ahead. Love yourself inside & out. It’s about being the best version of yourself & not being ‘the best’. And most of all it is about me & what I can do & it’s about you and what you can do.
So with this I celebrate the fact that I have overcome a knee injury and progressed to doing full squats for 10 months now. I can deadlift 115kg & back squat 82.5kg. I can do hundreds of sit-ups. I own loads of activewear. I can do the slowest burpees ever. I still have abs. I’ve had loads of fun competing in 3 competitions this year. I no longer have a ‘thigh gap’ and guess what? I can even do several pull-ups and at 41, I have claimed my very first “Rx FRAN”.
Two years ago, who would have thought this was possible? It was a dream to me as I watched other athletes doing these things with ease when I started crossfit two years ago, but lately I have found myself down playing my very own achievements. So what? I can do Fran? So can millions of others. What does it all mean? Really? What do all these little milestones mean? I must remind myself to wake up from the dream….the dream that “I” made a reality. I must remind myself to “own” this. To celebrate this. Because “this”…..is MORE than just “Rx Fran at 41”.
What I really need to celebrate & recognise is the journey; the journey it took to get to “Rx Fran at 41”. Unfortunately, it is the journey that is often hidden. The outside package & what you see is often a deceptive outward appearance. To others it can be a façade. A façade of “perfection”. A façade that others may feel resentful of. A façade that others may be intimidated by. A facade that others may aspire to.
You see….it only occurred to me two days ago; this phenomena of the ‘façade’ (a deceptive outward appearance), when another Mum was shocked & mortified at me saying “Fuck” in a comment on social media! Not shocked in a disgusted way, but shocked in an “OMG I can’t believe you swear! I thought you were the perfect Mum…I feel so much better now” kind of way. Well, I just laughed & openly admitted that I sometimes even swear at my children too! And she felt even better when I said that. How funny!
What this proved to me is that the onlooker can see something really different to what the reality is. Why is this so? Do we unintentionally create the “façade” phenomena? Maybe I do? Many see and comment “OMG you look so fit! What do you do?” And at the time, my simple answer is…I do crossfit & I eat really well! But it really is so much more than that. It is sooooo much more than that!
It is dedication. It is commitment. It is perseverance. It is hours in the kitchen. The getting up at 430am. It is kids getting their own breakfast & making their own lunches. It is prioritising me. It is staying true to myself. It is consistency. It is persistence. It is passion. It is real & creating your own reality. It is the act of balancing the demands of everyday life to make the time to create new habits. It is the blood, sweat & tears. It does hurt. A lot!!! It is the grind against life and the responsibility of being a MUM. After all “life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine…… And then it’s breathtakingly beautiful”.
My five a week sessions of crossfit are now a part of my lifestyle. Those sessions are factored into my day the same way I factor in a daily shower and dinner at night. I have created a habit & lifestyle which finds me without hesitation, driving myselft to Crossfit HBZ & walking back into that box with ease, like it’s my second home.
However, just this week, I found myself sucking back tears mid-wod like a post-natal woman with the day 3 blues. Why was I crying? I really did not know! It all felt too hard. I can’t do this anymore. Why am I doing this? Am I good enough? Am I doing my best? Should I be trying harder? My head was a mess of emotion and I was battling with it. No, I did not have my period!
The reality is that we all have life battles. Day to day challenges and day to day stressors are a part of life in many forms & its not always possible to leave that out of the box. Whilst on our shiny social media pages you see pictures of mouth watering food, children eating ‘perfect’ healthy lunches & 40 year olds in active wear….just remember that this is just a small part of the picture. I do swear. My house is not perfectly clean. My children fight. I yell at my children. My children say yuck to my food. I have days where I wish I didn’t’ have to cook for anyone. Even me. I don’t make my bed every day. And in general life can just feel like it sucks every last bit from you and you wonder how much more you have left to give.
Then my inner voice whispers, “look how far you’ve come……and then KEEP GOING”.
I look around and see the community that surrounds me. The community I have grown strong with. The community I lift with. The community I move with. The community I laugh with. The community I cry with. This is my cross fit family. With open arms I have embraced the love & support shared in this community. My tribe. I have and still do need it for more reasons than just my fitness and Rx Fran at 41. It motivates me to keep going with life & to keep doing what I love and believe in; and most of that happens in my kitchen. I love nothing more than to create real food to educate, inspire & nourish my family & friends, because real food matters!
I am inspired by the Mum with 3 children under four getting to a 530am WOD. I am in awe at the parents taking their young children to a 630am WOD as a family. I take my hat off to the parents who tag team between the 530am & 630am wod swapping cars with babies in pyjamas, just to fit in their daily workout. I praise the widowed Mum who makes time for herself doing regular workouts. I admire the hard working fathers who make time at the beginning of their day to get to crossfit. I am encouraged by the energy and strength of the youths who have found a love for crossfit. I am reassured by the regular faces who are consistently just there when you turn up to a wod. I am humbled by by own family and friends who see and support my love for crossfit. I feel loved by the “Red Dirt Girls” & I am thankful to the dedicated coaches who turn up everyday, enthusiastically encouraging me with abundance, emphasizing what “I can do” whilst shifting my focus away from what “I can’t do”.
As a devoted mother, I have learnt how lonely & challenging that raising children can be and the value of finding my tribe and many of them, has been consolidated through my journey with crossfit. “We are wired for community and our bodies, minds & souls will only be fully calibrated in the company of like minds….when you find these people, you will know because you will feel like you can be yourself” (Dr. Kelly Brogan).
My tribes encourage me to be the passionate, hard-core woman I am. They accept the ‘hippy’ I am inclined to be when I reject conventional values in order to stay true to myself and my beliefs. Finding those tribes that calibrate my mind & soul has been the essence of finding me & being a better version of myself. Having those tribes makes life FUN at 41!
With sentiment I share my journey with you….in hope to express my gratitude. In hope to inspire you. In hope to show you my vulnerabilities. In hope that you too can draw on your own strength to face your fears and overcome your excuses. To find time for you. To make your dream your reality.
Remember that it is OK to make time for yourself. You deserve to give back to you. Acknowledge the effort it takes to face up to life each day…..as a friend, as a mother, as a father, as an employee, as a coach as a crossfitter. Celebrate it. There’s a very important journey behind every milestone. Sometimes life is a grind. Focus on the journey, not the destination. A lot can happen in just one year and even more can happen in two!
At the intersection of the many tribes we belong to their is always one special friend. Today, in honour of that ‘one’ special friend, Pinky, I must pay it forward….because “sometimes you just need that friend who reminds you: YOU ARE ENOUGH. Let me be her today” .Xx.
Life is FUN at 41!