Note to my 28 year old self

Dear self-of-20 years ago,

I went for a quick run at lunchtime today, struggling a little with some asthmatic tightness, heavy-footedness. Spending a moment feeling ugh, so out of shape, this is hard, how irritating to have spring allergies, exercise-induced asthma, chest heaviness.

And then I stopped myself, and realized for a moment that I was engaging in quite the little parade of self-criticism… and that in fact, I’m 48 years old, and here I was tripping along at a reasonable 5 minute/km pace, running at lunchtime. When many of my peers are kind of physically broken, disks and knees brittle and painful, chronic pain or other ways that their bodies don’t feel in their control. Could never dream of running.

I spent a moment, then, thanking you, my 28 year old self. For noticing the people I worked with, who were pretty big smokers and drinkers and non-exercisers, and who turned 40 when I worked with them and visibly aged about 10 years in less than a year. Thank you for deciding right then, not to be a 40 year old smoker, to lose the weight you had acquired in late-night agency life and eating crap at your desk. The life where you bought a new pack of smokes every morning with a coffee in the lobby of the office building. Thank you for resetting life choices, and turning 30 a non-smoker, and a nascent runner. Ran my first 10K about three months later.


Today, my body is aging, and I’m tired a lot. I drink way too much coffee, eat too many carbs and eat far too much sugar.


(Ha! I had no idea my health card was on the counter there. A little scrutineer perched on my shoulder).

But. I’m 48. People always tell me I look much younger than that. I’m reasonably bendy. I can lift heavy things. My blood pressure, cholesterol etc. are great. I’m carrying a few pounds more than I really want to, but I can run 10 km reasonably comfortably, and am aiming at the 15K at the Triadventure this summer with some ease. I can sweat and pedal with the best of them in spinning class, and ride my bike far with joy.

Thank you, 28 year old Catherine. Weren’t you smart.

48 year old Cate


One thought on “Note to my 28 year old self

  1. Wonderful reflection of today – and yesterday. I have to thank my 32 year old self for pretty much the same. It’s great to be able to sweat, be out of breath and be tired… and feel good about it.

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