Just over 18 months ago I found my thing and now I find out I’m getting bigger. If you haven’t sniggered a little by this point then I’m sorry, you’re obviously too mature to be my friend!
When I left college eighteen months ago, I fell into the world of cricket in Ireland. I’ve always been a massive cricket fan but ever since, I’ve reported on, commentated on and presented highlights of men’s and women’s matches at club, interprovincial and international level.
Journalism is a big and packed field. Digitisation has provided multiple platforms for graduates looking to establish themselves in the business. Not to mention the old pros who were there, doing it and wearing the t-shirt, while I was in short trousers. Only last year in fairness, reporting on cricket is easy in shorts!
Everyone needs to find something that differentiates them. My thing was being able to be the first to present highlights packages and to become a face of cricket in Leinster, and beyond, in 2018.
I’ve spoken before about the value of work on a psycho-social level. I was fortunate to be paid for doing a job I loved across the summer of 2018, but it was the confidence gained in producing quality material, socialising in new circles and having a purpose again that helped me rebuild my self-worth quicker.
Naturally, the money helps, but between medical card and welfare thresholds that I must stay below, money can never be the sole answer.
The few quid I did earn has allowed me to up my activity in the last couple of months since the domestic cricket season finished.
When I started, I had some tests and measurements done to set the base line for my lack of fitness and my weight, no surprise it was far too high (damn tasty cricket teas!).
Given a plan to work to that has included cardio and resistance in the gym, swimming and hydrotherapy (okay it’s aqua aerobics), I’ve got stuck into the exercise.
The exercise is great, it’s one part of managing my arthritis and fibromyalgia, and using them all in combination I feel much better than I did 10 weeks ago. I’ve had a few setbacks with flare ups of pain and fatigue but knowing how to self-manage, I’ve been able to get back at it relatively quickly.
I didn’t put any figures on the targets I was setting at the start. I knew I wanted to lose weight and feel fitter, but I didn’t say by how much these metrics had to improve. I also knew if both things happened, I’d feel more confident in myself and carry myself better too.
So, ten weeks later I made an appointment to have all the measurements done again, and the results are in. The non-measurable first. I have more energy, feel more confident and stronger.
The weight is down seven and a half kilos, delighted with that.
Hips and waist are down too, I’m losing weight from the right places.
Arms and thighs are bigger, finally toning a little muscle.
The last measurement is the most noteworthy, to me anyway.
I’ve walked shorter for years since my diagnosis. As my self-confidence and self-worth left me, my shoulders hunched over, and I closed in on myself.
Now as I rebuild all of that and increase the exercise, my posture is improving and I’m carrying myself closer to my true height.
I was measured at 184cms ten weeks ago, this week I’m now 6 foot 1 and 186cms. Two centimetres in ten weeks? Amazing what confidence and exercise can do, maybe soon I’ll get back to my top height of 6 foot 2 from the match-programme days.
As we start December 2018, I’ve not only found my thing, I’m also getting bigger.
(Join me in the gutter for the childish innuendo!)