Celebrating the big 5-0: being fit and feeling fulfilled

Okay the cat is out of the bag. Ladies don’t generally like to discuss their age but I’m going to dispense with that tradition and declare boldly and proudly that I turned 50 today!

After saying a prayer of thanks that I have lived to see half a century; I smiled broadly before stepping out of bed and into the hallway to be greeted with hugs, kisses, flowers and gifts from a cherished older sister, a dynamic niece that makes me very proud and a great niece aged nine whose card cheekily reminded me that when I was her age, a mobile was something that hung over a baby’s cot!

I am fortunate to live in an all-female household of three generations. You cannot get more empowering than that. But it only gets better.

I am full of the joys of spring, despite a cold crispness in the air, because I have achieved what I set out to do back in 2010 and what I set out to do at the beginning of the year.

Back in 2010 I moved up to Manchester to undertake a PhD and on Wednesday I passed my viva. After a few formalities are completed I will be Dr Gabriel. It has been a tough journey, a challenging path with some high and low points. But it has also been very rewarding.

In 2005 when my late grandmother was still alive at the grand age of 103, she said to me: “You are worth something.” Those words have served to motivate me long after she passed away. I finally feel worthy of her praise.

I am also feeling fulfilled as at the beginning of January after I had completed my PhD thesis I embarked on my next challenge: shedding the weight that I put on over the lastDeborah Gabriel [3] 4 April 2014 three years while working on my doctoral research.

I was inspired by the grace, elegance and beauty of the svelte first lady Michelle Obama, who celebrated her 50th birthday mid-January. After 13 weeks on a new low carb diet, resistance training and the treadmill five days a week, I have lost 2st 1 3/4lbs! I am not quite at my target – I still want to lose another 12 lbs, but I feel a whole lot better and have dropped two dress sizes! 

I don’t feel any different to how I felt ten years ago. I have the same sense of humour and fun, the same level of determination and zest for life. What I now possess is the quiet wisdom that comes with life experience that I cherished in my grandmother. But I have at least another fifty years to go to catch up to my greatest role model!

Fabulous at Fifty?

Enjoying my birthday with older sisters Jennifer (left) aged 55 and Rosemarie (right) aged 54
Enjoying my birthday with older sisters Jennifer (left) aged 55 and Rosemarie (right) aged 54

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