As I celebrate my 41st birthday this weekend it’s got me thinking about the privilege of age rather than the horror of it and how content and happy I feel, compared to what society and cultural norms suggest I should be feeling (without traditional markers such as marriage or children). I wrote about this in an Instagram post here.
Feeling content at this point in life is partly down to figuring out what brings out the best in me and mapping my life accordingly. I’m fortunate to have had the freedom and capacity to nurture these aspects in my life: an interesting career that’s evolved with me, a fun and rewarding fitness journey that keeps me challenged and striving for more, and a strong community of friends who share similar interests and ways of thinking, as well as family close by and many other things.
I’ve also spent the last few years figuring out what makes me me, and why. Having a good therapist has helped me do that more than anything else and through the work we’ve done together over the last four or five years, I’ve gradually been able to peel back the layers and find empathy and understanding to the parts of my character that have previously held me back.
I’ve also been able to slowly let go of some of the negative critical thinking and self judgment that I used to regularly inflict on myself. That insight, self-discovery and growth has been an integral part of the process of designing my own life.
The wonderful portrait photographer Rii Schroer came round to photograph me in my living room, to show how I’ve been training at home through lockdown and making the most out of the space and kit I have.
The story appeared in both print and digital and charts my journey from marathon runner (with no background in strength training) to weightlifting competitor, as well as my training schedule, nutrition and motivations.
It also ends with my fitness mission: I’d love to see more women – especially over 40 – connect to fitness for mental strength. The confidence you get from doing something you previously couldn’t is beyond words.
If you’re a subscriber to The Telegraph you can read the full story here: