1) I don’t recover like I used to. This has spread over several areas of my life. For example;
- A month ago, I climbed Mount Cooroora with a couple of friends. It was fun, scary and a lot bloody harder than I was anticipating. Half way down I could feel my dodgy left knee starting to grumble. If it wasn’t for the burger and beers we had at the Copperhead Brewery after I would have whinged the whole way home. The next day my knee was so damn sore and by lunch time I had pretty much convinced myself it was time for an MRI and an early knee replacement. Two surgeries on it in my teens has ensured that I will have early onset arthritis. Thankfully the old girl settled down and I am back running with minor twinges here and there, but my King of the Mountain days are over before they even started.
- Exercising; how the hell did I use to do 2-3 hours every day? Was I deranged? Now, I give myself a pat on the back if I get 30 minutes of exercise done every second day. I need at least 24-48 hours between any physical activity. This old bag needs her beauty sleep, arthritis needs to settle and gone are the days of exercising in the cold, dark or rain.
- The prolonged recoveries are most notable however, after a night out. If I can manage to bypass feeling unwell and achieve intoxication, holy hell the hangovers sure ain’t what they used to be! I mean, what is with a four-day hangover? This is probably the sole reason that big nights are limited to approximately three times a year when about 15 years ago it was common for them to happen at least three times each week.
3) I can no longer deep squat, kneel or even take a t-shirt off without joints cracking/ creaking or involuntarily groaning in pain. I have successfully put my neck out by reading a book in bed. I shudder when I need to put on or take off a sports bra. I’m pretty sure useful days for my hands, thumbs and wrists are numbered thanks to working as a Physiotherapist for the past 13 years. I don’t think it’s ever too early to put in bathroom rails or invest in a toilet/ shower chair.
4) I now drink Gin and tonics. Funnily enough this is also the drink of choice for psychopaths and narcissists. In saying that; thanks to everyone reading and sending me comments, you are feeding my narcissism. Reader’s digest however, suggests that this makes me sophisticated and the ‘cool’ one in my friend group (HAHAHAHAHA). I have also refined my wine choice to ONLY Pinots (Noir, Grigio or Gris) and the recent addition of Tempranillo. Don’t even mention the ‘C’ word to me….. that’s Chardonnay you filthy animals! I am now the proud owner of a wine-rack which may need to be replaced soon as it only holds 6 bottles at any one time. How did I think this was going to be suitable? (<= subtle hint for a birthday present people 😉) I am currently researching wine clubs which deliver a dozen at any one time, so this wine-rack and I really aren’t going to go the distance together. To complement the wines in the rack and the G&Ts, I am never without blue cheese in my fridge.
5) I tear recipes out of magazines and screen shot them on my phone. I bought a pretty folder to file these recipes in under specific categories; breakfast, salads, mains, drinks, baking, desserts & cheesecake, which deserves to be a stand-alone category in my opinion. Spending a minimum of four hours of food prepping, baking and cooking on a Sunday is my idea of time well spent. For example, this past Sunday I toiled over a honey, soy chicken salad for my weekly lunches and cooked up a lamb roast with a roast pumpkin, beetroot, orange and goats cheese salad. How am I not a bloody catch?
6) I hate making plans on Sunday nights and have serious anxiety associated with anything organised at 7pm or after on a school night. I like to be in bed by 9pm and don’t really function on anything less than 7.5 hours of sleep. Gone are the days of pushing through on 5 hours of sleep and responding to late night booty calls. These things need to be scheduled in advance at a decent hour of the day or evening.
7) My feet hurt at the sight of high heels. I take two pairs of shoes out to all functions and unless I park directly outside of restaurant I’ll be wearing flats or wedges. I look absolutely ridiculous trying to walk in high heels. I am that girl who looks like she is trying to walk on a slack line, arms flailing, legs akimbo and moving at snail pace. Don’t talk to me whilst I am trying to walk in heels as this task requires 100% of my concentration to ensure I don't snap an ankle.
8) I love mid-rise jeans. I’m conscious of sporting a muffin top and mid to high-waisted pants tend to hold all my mid-thirties softness in quite effectively. Gone are the days where I risk arse-crack when bending over to pluck out my toe hairs or put on my (flat) shoes.
9) I don’t listen to the radio any more. I am obsessed with podcasts. True crime gets me every time (see Case File, Trace, The Teacher’s Pet, Dirty John). I indulge my inner nerd with ‘Science vs’, laugh my arse off with ‘My dad wrote a porno’, feel my heart break with ‘Alone; a love story’ and melt at the voice of Richard Vidler on ‘Conversations’. If you have never heard Richard speak you are seriously missing out. My all-time favourite though, is Andrew Denton’s ‘Better off dead’ where he investigates voluntary euthanasia around the world. When it comes to music my taste has regressed to the music my mum listened to when I was a kid and anything from the 90s. Enter; Phil Collins, Crowded House and Billy Joel. Of course, I still absolute love Keith Urban.
10) I now require an exorbitant amount of caffeine just to human. A shot before morning exercise, a double shot before work, sometimes one mid-morning and always one at lunch. I also have a Pepsi max at exactly 3pm which I start thinking about immediately after my coffee at lunch.I love the smell of coffee, the taste, the buzz, everything about it.
In saying all the above, the most beautiful thing about my mid-thirties is I think I am starting to know who I am, what I want and what I don’t want. So far I have tried to live my life without the intention of pleasing someone else. Mid-thirties are that sensitive age in life where I have seen things start to not work out. Due to the fact that I take my sweet-arse time making life decisions, perhaps I will skip that stage in my life? I love my own company. I'm happy to be alone, travel alone and sleep alone. I think I might even actually like myself as a person. I won’t settle for anything less than I deserve in my friendships, relationships, work and life. At this point in my life I take a lot less shit than I used to. If you don’t value my time or me as a person don’t expect us to be friends for long. If you are passive aggressive or a bully I will call you out. My circle has got a whole lot smaller over the past few years but those who remain in it are truly exceptional people. I have had a pretty decent thirty- four years, aside from a few little challenges. I come from privilege with access to high class education, quality health care and I am lucky to have a stable career that funds my love of travel. So if all I'm now challenged by is a few chin and toe hairs, a little arthritis (mainly from treating my body like a rental car) and deciding what to cook on Sunday night, then I suppose my mid-thirties should be celebrated. And celebrate I will. With cake.