What a Woman Wants…..


If you google ‘What do women in their 50’s want?” you get a long list of responses about women wanting a) younger men and b) untold types of excitement in the bedroom. That’ll teach me to be too general with my research. Well, I for one wouldn’t want a younger man, thanks. For a start, I am way too insecure and BH (Beloved Husband) wouldn’t let me have one anyway. I’m allowed a dachshund, a new bike, maybe even another handbag, but he draws the line at a younger man. We don’t have enough room for one with all of BH’s bikes.

I’ve been thinking about the things that I want now that I qualify for cheaper life insurance and an associated Parker pen as advertised by Michael Parkinson. I’m starting to get more than a little bit shirty and indignant with those daytime TV schedulers. I’ve got a new job and am able to work from home on the odd occasion and often put the tv on for some background noise – silence can be utterly deafening sometimes. Its frankly appalling what those numpties think of us lovelies over the age of 49.

Apparently, I am, in equal measures:

Incontinent, constipated, crippled with dodgy knees, hip, back (delete as appropriate), in need of a savings plan for my burial or cremation which is looming, overweight but too decrepit to do anything about it, incapable of cooking for myself and in need of meals on wheels, lonely, with only a mangy cat or dog for company, deaf, toothless, bald, in unconsolable grief having just lost my angelic-looking husband, loving life with my angelic-looking husband travelling to hotels that cater specially for old fogeys with a passion for threading beads…. and the list goes on…..

Hang on a minute, I was 35 last Thursday wasn’t I? I don’t feel like I’m ready for the scrap heap quite yet. I’ve still got all my own teeth and hair, I don’t carry an ear trumpet (although BH thinks I should. He wanted me to go with his 92 year old mum to get sorted with a hearing aid) and I don’t have to have all my food liquidized. Hang on, I do drink a LOT of smoothies – should I worry?? I haven’t finished with my life yet. I’ve got plans – and they don’t involve a press button reclining chair and a slanket.

So, what does this woman want? Other than NOT to be treated like Miss Marple by anyone under the age of 40?

I want to run 5km in under 30 minutes, 10km in under an hour and a half marathon in under 2 hours. I want to complete an Ironman, row around Britain and Climb Aconcagua and Denali. I want to study for a degree in classics, write a book and actually get the garden properly weeded. I’m not sure that I’ve got enough time left. If daytime tv is right, I’m soon going to need to be measured up for my wings, harp and incontinence pants…

Do I really have to? My resistance to going to the local pool


Okay, here’s a question. What do you think is the BIGGEST challenge in swim training? You might think its gaining a feel for the water, or perhaps bi-lateral breathing, or maybe even getting a training plan together. Nope, no, got that sorted, nooooo. Its even simpler than that. For me, the biggest challenge I face is actually getting to the pool and getting into the water.

I was part of a swim relay and swam the English Channel in 2014 and I get very excited and want to jump in water when near a large stretch of it (perhaps I was a labrador in a previous life). I’ve done a few other marathon swims over the years and really, really loved them so you may think its really odd that I can’t herd myself into the pool. Its even more worrying when you realise that you’ve got to get in the water as you’ve signed up for two marathon swims in the summer.

Like any of the swimmers I’m lucky enough to have made friends with over recent years, I suffer from a local pool – lovely though it is – that doesn’t seem to really care about the people that use its facilities. It wants to be seen to accommodate the public at large, but it doesn’t really seem to accommodate the folks who want to swim. One of my best friends who happens to be one of the best swimmers I have ever seen, was told off at her local pool for going too fast.

I’ve laughed out loud at the Facebook post a friend of mine posted after a particularly ridiculous Swim Rage incident. Like him, I have ended up in the pool reception, dripping water everywhere clothed only in hat and cossie ranting because of the behaviour of other swimmers and the abject lack of discipline asserted by the lump of blubber – more commonly known as a life guard – slumped in its high chair doing nothing to keep the pool safe. I’ve commiserated with other friends who’ve bemoaned the fact that their pool has banned the use of fins and I’ve also been abused myself. I was punched – on purpose – by a man because I swam past him. We have all experienced other pool users who seem to regard people who wear swimming hats as weirdos whose sole use in a pool is to be the butt of abuse.

This is all on top of feeling a little bit shy. I don’t belong to a club and swim on my own. It can be incredibly intimidating when there are lots of other people around – and then there are the ‘swimmers’ – you know who you are, people – who want to hog a lane all to themselves and splash and thrash and tutt when you join their lane. Then they bust their guts to overtake you – only to fail on some occasions – and then just make life plain awkward when all you want to do is peacefully do your own thing.

Now that I have got myself into a stew and raked up all my hurt feelings, I’ve got to get back in the water…. Maybe my New Year’s Resolution should be to grow a pair….

Another Year, another New Year’s Resolution. Or, put another way: May all Your Troubles Last as Long as Your New Years Resolutions…

Another year gone… and I’m feeling all reflective. The house is empty and I’m on my own for the first time in weeks and its definitely time to look back on the past twelve months and get out one of the lovely new books I’ve bought myself to plan the next twelve. I love to make lists, I make lists about the  events I’m going to do in the coming year, lists about the “In” foods I should eat and those that I need to bin. I make lists about the new anti-ageing face creams I have to buy with associated skincare regimes, lists about the cupboards I’m going to clear out (mainly out of date nuts, spices and foods I bought when I was in a freakily healthy eating headspace but never got round to trying, and lists about the clothes I’m going to throw out  – including the lary run pants I bought in an attempt to inspire myself out onto the trails ( now I’m in a reserved black or navy only mood) and the jobs I’m going to get OH to do around the house, and then I make lists about lists. They’re all beautifully handwritten. If I make a spelling mistake, the page is scrapped and re-written. Then I promptly put the book on my bedside table and let it gather dust as the other impulsive side of me takes over and I press red buttons to enter events I hadn’t planned and sporadically clear cupboards, eat healthily and eat trash.

A resolution is a promise we make to ourselves isn’t it? Its us promising to do something, or not to do something because we think that this change will make us better somehow. I’ve talked about New Years Resolutions before (click here) and it seems I manage to break my promises to myself all the time. I know we all do it. The questions though are these:

a) If I break a promise to myself, did that promise really matter in the first place?

b) If I don’t take myself seriously, then who the hell else will?

I guess that I’ve done myself  a real dis-service by not keeping my own personal promises.  I mean the big ones, the important ones like, living true to my own principles, being kind to myself and others, doing something that I’ve promised someone I would do or I have promised myself I would do.

I’ve just re read that post from December 2015. I’m now a little bit older and, I think, a little bit wiser and in the spirit of giving my younger self a little bit of advice I’d now say this:

Stop making lists. Stop writing a list of ‘things’ that you want to do or stop doing. Stop making a list of things that basically tell you that you are rubbish. Be thankful for who you are and what you have.

If you want to make a promise to yourself then make it a positive one and make a promise that matters to you – a lot.

Respect yourself, take your promise seriously and move Heaven and Earth to keep it.