When my mum was the age I am now, she started going to the gym. She really enjoyed it. Despite already having a physical job – she was a school cleaner – she loved doing weights and cardio. I was in my early twenties and a few times I’d go along with her, but I wasn’t into it – probably too busy with my new boyfriend – and looking back didn’t really support her journey.
I didn’t help her and encourage her in any practical way. I was probably “oh nice” while not looking up from my book. I was young and selfish, and preoccupied with my own life. I didn’t walk beside her. I didn’t have any understanding what fitness could have bought to my life.
In the end she probably lasted less than a year at the gym. There would have been solid excuses like “it’s too expensive” or “I don’t have time”. Excuses that had she had supported would have been beaten. Three decades (OMG!) later and it’s probably one of my biggest regrets.
Like me, Mum is a team player. She has always worked best when she works with others. She’s always been strong and an incredibly hard worker. But she needs others to gently nudge her into action sometimes.
I wish I’d been the person she needed thirty years ago.
If ‘it’s not too late’ is true, I hope I’m making up for it now.
I’m not that different from Mum. Like her I need practical support and encouragement. That’s why I started Fat Adventurers and joined and eventually became a coach for Deadly Runners. It’s been funny how the last 24 months have turned my expectations of movement and fitness around, and have created a new kind of normal.
It’s 8.30am on a Saturday morning and I’ve just got home from my local parkrun. It’s the 4th one I’ve done in the past two months, and getting my gear ready late last night and setting my alarm for 6.30am is just beginning to feel normal.
I’ll never be a super-fit and I’ll never enjoy getting up early. But it’s nice that over time, a new kind of normal is setting in. I’m liking it. And I’m loving the new connections I’m making along the way.
I can’t change what happened in the past, I can only do what I can from now going forward. I hope the time with Mum and the work we do together at Deadly Runners twice a week is making a difference to her wellbeing. It’s making a huge difference in mine.