|A housewife should always strike a pose when emptying the dishwasher....|
Not that I was ever the belle of the ball, but in my younger years I did occasionally turn a head or two. But a funny thing happened to me in my late 40's (post 5 babies) - I suddenly realised that I was invisible.
Now I was 20+ kilos overweight with 5 gorgeous little ones pulling at my big beautiful woman's clothing, so I didn't kid myself that I was actually invisible. As a matter of a fact, I remember constantly bumping into people and inanimate objects with my voluptuous hips because I had a difficult time determining how much space I occupied in the universe. Sort of like learning to drive the Toyota Tarago mini van after driving smaller economy cars for many years. It takes a while to figure out how small of a parking space will accommodate your larger...well "boot" as they call the back storage compartment of a car here in Australia.
But I started to notice as I walked down the street (when I wasn't bumping into people with my generous derriere that is), that men no longer stole an occasional surreptitious glance at me like they used to. And I was more than a little reluctant to admit that this bothered me. I was too old to giggle incessantly and meet boys at the Knott's Berry Farm dance nights, but I was too young to not still want to be acknowledged as a woman. So there it was, I was faced with the dreaded mid-life crisis (and I swore in my younger years that this was just an excuse to buy a Porsche!)
What does this have to do with running and "superficial, my arse" you may ask? Well running not only helped to trim down my "arse" a bit, but it also made me feel like I was really part of life again. It is impossible to run and not feel alive and acutely in the moment. And as you get stronger and more fit it is impossible to not feel younger, even if the wrinkles, the gravity-challenged-baby-bearing-bits and the scales on your previously smooth and youthful hands tell the real story of your age. And when you feel younger, you rediscover that subtle hip sway when you walk (although I did pull my hip muscle dancing recently, but I digress). And when you feel younger and you sway your hips a little, you exude a bit more confidence and suddenly you're not quite as invisible. Although if you "obey your sway" and flick and switch your hips too much, you might find yourself bumping into people and objects again. Everything in moderation gals (and guys if you are into the hip swaying thing as well).
So I was talking to my long time friend about this whole invisibility dilemma and I suggested that my goal was to learn to find more fulfillment within. After all, I suggested, it was a little superficial at my age to find such satisfaction in the fact that running had given me back my waistline. But my friend suggested that esteem was a balance between our mind, soul, emotions and our physical self - that all were important and it was healthy to take pride in them. And I guess he really didn't agree with my superficial comment because his parting sentence was "superficial, my arse". My friend and I have been known to quarrel on more than one occasion over the years, but we don't normally swear at each other. So that got my attention. And because he had my attention, I allowed myself to contemplate his words. And I liked what I was contemplating. I can strive to be brilliant, deep, in touch with my inner child and dammit, I can have a great "arse" too! Kapow - bring on middle age!