In exactly 3 months time I will be turning 50. I understand now what people mean when they say that life slips by in the blink of an eye. On the whole, I am very happy with where I find myself on the approach to my 50th birthday. I’ve experienced all kinds of things during those 50 years, travelled to more places than I’d imagined given my dislike of flying, ticked several things off my bucket list and achieved far more than I’d ever imagined I would. That’s the great thing about not being a goal setter – any achievement is a bonus! There is just one thing during those 50 years that hasn’t quite been as tip top as I’d have liked and that has been my health, but I’ve tried really hard not to let it stop me. As I go beyond this milestone, though, I would quite like to see the end of the niggles and embrace life with vigour and verve. I quite intend to grow old as disgracefully as I can.
I am a big believer in using alternative remedies and diet to manage health conditions. Obviously, not in place of allopathic medicine, especially in the case of severe ill-health, but for the every day, not so great niggles I do believe they have their place. This time last year I was in a position where I struggled to walk for any great period and was in pain for most of the time. Having had every test known to man the medical profession was none the wiser and popped me off with some painkillers. During one of the consultations with my GP he asked me what was I doing to manage the situation myself. I love it when I GP asks this question. So I reeled off all the things I was doing: yoga, meditation, walking and he recommended that I keep on doing those things.
Fast forward a year and I have maintained a daily yoga practice. It is only 10-15 minutes per day, but it is daily. I have reached the point where I can walk 3-4 miles a few times a week and not be in agony and be able to walk the following day. I have also maintained a daily meditation practice. But there is still that last bit of pain. What I have found interesting is that during periods of lockdown the pain levels have been significantly lower than when I was out of lockdown – when I put my party hat back on and let it all go. Don’t get me wrong I am significantly better, to the point that I have been able to come off the painkillers and it is a minor inconvenience, but for once, I would just like to know what it feels like to be pain free. For a whole day. And if that could be for multiple days then that would be even more amazing.
So. I have three months to achieve my goal of pain free living! Apparently if you believe things hard enough they can happen – thoughts become things. I have a bit of an outline. I’m not great with plans, so no point making one of those as I won’t be sticking to it! But I am going to try my very best to:
- Not drink alcohol (again). I’m not very good at this! I tend to get swept along in the moment, but I am really going to try not to. I just want to see what happens if I don’t drink for 3 months. Obviously, this is helped in part by being in lockdown and so socialising at bars isn’t happening at the moment. Will it make any difference to my pain levels? It may, it may not, but if I don’t try I will never know.
- Cut out sweet treats. This is a real killer for me, but added sugar is really quite bad and it is an inflammatory food. It may be that I treat myself to one cake per week, just to keep me sane, but again, if I don’t cut it out, how do I know if it does or doesn’t impact the pain that I feel. I have a strategy for this. Each time I feel the desire to eat something sweet I will get a piece of fruit to eat instead. I’m not a fan of fruit, so suspect that the majority of times I’ll have nothing!
- Try to increase my activity levels. During March I am going to attempt 500 sun salutations and am going to try one or two full length exercise classes per week. And I will continue with my daily walks. At the end of the day, it’s not like I am short on time and in general, the more I move, the less I hurt. It seems to be sitting still that causes the most discomfort.
But I guess the key thing is that I believe it can work. Husband isn’t really onboard with all the voodoo joo joo to quite the same degree I am, but he understands that I think it works and with many things, that is half of the battle won. I’m going to try using affirmations. I’m going to try turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. I’m going to try living with an attitude of gratitude. I’m going to try going into each and every situation with an attitude of love rather than fear. We’ll see how this all pans out, I may well be mad as a box of frogs, but at the end of the day, I’m willing to give it a try and embrace the idea of pain-free living. Wouldn’t it be exciting if by my 50th birthday it had actually worked and I could dance the night away with no fear of how I’m going to feel the next day.