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Turning 40 was just like walking through a door from one room to the next.

In the pre-40 room, I was getting up every morning at 4:30 and was at the gym by 5:00 a.m. where I took a spinning class.  (That’s the uber-tough cycling class that always resulted in a puddle–no, a large body of water–on the floor surrounding my spin bike.) On the days that I didn’t spin, I would pound out 30 mins. on the ellyptical machine and 30 minutes lifting weights.  I had a trainer. I had weight gloves. I even had a heart rate monitor.  And the first year I started doing this (I was 33) I dropped 40 pounds and was super thrilled at my new bod.

Then at 40 I walked through the door.

Here’s what that other room looked like:

Okay, let me first start off by saying that I was traveling a whole lot that year.  I made Platinum frequent flyer status in just  8 months, plus I was rendezvousing long distance with my boyfriend, then to be fiancee and later husband.   When I did find time to work out I was so fatigued I couldn’t get up at 4:30 in the morning for a workout.  If I did, by 10 a.m. I had used up any energy stores I had and I wanted to crawl under my desk at work and take a nap.  (I actually did do that one time at work.  I have an office and I just locked the door and curled up under my desk for 20 minutes.  I was crazy tired that day, I remember.  But now that I think of it, why didn’t I just go home?)

After going through that door I was working out at a gym where I had a killer monthly rate. There were lots and lots of 20 and 30 somethings who looked way cuter than I felt.  I soon realized that I had gone through that door and everyone else at the gym was “in the other room.”  I had heard for years that once you turn 40 that everything starts to fall apart.  But man, does it have to do it all at once?  I remember clearly being on a treadmill at the gym and this girl in her 20s was to my left just pounding hard as she ran.  She never stopped.  I thought, surely she’s going to tire. Nope.  She kept going.  In fact, she’s probably still going now.  And then to my right there was this buff guy who was just pounding it out too.  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??!!

That was really my first brick into my head moment.  I knew that this was crazy and something was not quite right.  That’s when I started to bring this up with my doctor and we started investigating.  It turned into four months of tests and wondering, which really sucks, because during that four-month period I turned into the biggest cybercondriac on the planet.  I would Google  everything under the sun.  Every day I had a different disease or ailment and I was going out of my mind.

Anyway, long story short, I got a diagnosis.  (Turns out it was wrong, but I’ll address that in a later post.)  So turning forty and walking through that door meant I was walking into two rooms.  Maybe it’s a great room–you know, in the sense that it’s a kitchen and living room. That sort of thing. That is, I walked into the normal getting older ailments room along with I’ve-got-something-really-bad-going-on room.  The problem is, I don’t think either room gets along with the other.  Or maybe it just needs redecorating.

Soon after my first diagnosis (the wrong one, remember?) I just changed gyms.  I now go to the community rec center that is the same distance as the young groovin’ gym I used to go to. It’s pretty much the same, but the clientele is older and they seem to have a lot of classes for people with ailments.  There’s gentle yoga and water aerobics classes for people with arthritis. I even have become quite addicted to Zumba, which is surprisingly offered at my gym.

I no longer do the wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn workout anymore.  I have to find time after work to do it. But that’s okay.  At least I can still workout. It’s important to me and critical to my recovery–both for rehabilitating my broken leg/ankle injury from last November and so I can stay ahead of this mystery ailment I have going on. 

When a friend asked me why I changed gyms I said (a little tongue in cheek), “I’m with my people now.”

And it’s not a bad place to be. I don’t feel like I suck at working out right now.