Today (Friday 17th), I reached the ripe of old age of 47!
In my head, I still feel as though I’m 27. My mind is still very young but I know (and I can feel!!) that my body is getting older. We all complain about getting older and don’t want to advertise our age. I’ve gone through stages of wearing layered baggy clothing in my teens (to make me look stockier!!) then onto slim fit tops/skinny jeans in my twenties/thirties. I’ve just realised in my latter 40’s that going back to a more relaxed / baggy top is the future – they certainly help to hide the post-pandemic belly I’ve accrued!!
I’ve recently started to play football again, to not only aid my physical health but also my mental health. My physical recovery time certainly feels like it matches my age! I’m only just about ready for the next game a week later!
My mental health though is showing signs of recovery.
27 years young sticks in my head for one reason and one reason only…
In 2020, it was reported that most people with our son Alfie’s condition, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, did not live beyond their early 20s. Thankfully, improvements in treatment have meant that life expectancy has increased. At present, the average life expectancy for people with Duchenne is 27 years.
Everyday, I look at Alfie and I see his strength and determination to live life to the full. In our eyes, he and others who have been diagnosed with Duchenne in a similar time period are going to be the ones who break new ground for those with Duchenne and in my heart that will never change. It’s the battle in your own head that is always the hardest part.
Looking back, the past 20 years of my life have been the most important and productive years of my life…
I’ve got married, we have produced 2 beautiful children, I’ve changed career – TWICE and I know and feel comfortable in being the person that I have become today.
But imagine if your life was/or had been cut short at the age of 27.
I’m sure most of you agree that we only really ‘find ourselves’ in our late twenties/early thirties (some of you may disagree). I recently read that the male brain only really full matures at the age of 43 (some of you may also disagree with this!!) I think it was 32 for a female, in case you were wondering!!
In the past couple of days, I’ve recently read a script that was shared by a friend on Facebook. The post was by Lauren Dalton, it’s a post that has gone viral (88k Likes and 156k shares) and is aimed I would say more towards today’s female generation but it really got me thinking about how we all perceive ourselves to be and what we feel we have to live up to.
NB. As I type this, I’ve realised that I’m currently in a period of reflection (I’ve just been out ‘on the pop’ to celebrate my birthday!!) but to be honest, I’ve had a blog like this bubbling inside me for a while now and tonight feels like the right time to type it all out and share it with you all!
The post went something like this…
Imagine being 75 and you’re sat thinking about your life and how you never went swimming in the sea on a warm night because your thighs jiggled.
Imagine realising you never laughed until you couldn’t breathe because your teeth weren’t straight or white enough.
Imagine never embracing the sun on the beach because of the stretch marks on your stomach and your hips.
You never allowed yourself to let go and have fun because the pressure to look perfect consumed you.
Imagine being 75 and realising you’ve hidden yourself away for the fear of being real.
Imagine realising all the years you wasted hating yourself, but now it’s too late to go swim in the sea late at night.
Now it hurts to laugh for more than a few seconds and you’re too weak to travel to the beach.
Imagine realising all this time you were perfect the way you were, but now it’s too late to do anything about it.
Don’t let that happen.
Live now, as you are.
You deserve to realise you’re enough and always have been, before you’re 75.
Credit: Lauren Dalton, Facebook post 8th June 2022
We now live in times where the younger generation seem to be trying to match an ‘Instagram filter’ and most people have a such negative self-image, both physically and mentally. It really isn’t healthy for anyone.
I suppose what I’m trying to say in this blog is to put yourself in the position of Alfie and others who have a life limiting illness like Duchenne. Think about what you will do with those additional 48+ years of your life or if you’re older, what it would’ve been like if you hadn’t had them. We as family will try to squeeze in as much as possible into those ’27 years’, 8 of which have already gone so very quickly.
Thanks for reading.