2020: midlife

I am going to turn 45 this year and I think I might be at midlife. More and more I feel it.

Memoji worried

I can’t say it’s because of the salt and pepper in my hair because that crept up on me several years ago. It isn’t either the wrinkles on my forehead and round my eyes – those came as I was raising my toddler. No, I am referring to physical signs that started last year :

  • Vision (1): my left eye now scores 10/10 while the right one remains at 12/10.
  • Vision (2): I used to see clearly real close (15 cm) but I now see clearly a little less close (20 cm). I continue to see clear real far.
  • Knee: my right knee aches now and then.
  • Right leg: I now can barely sit cross-legged and can most definitely no longer sit in the lotus position.
  • Periods: I’ve had only 4 inconsistent periods last year and none this year so far. I experience the unpleasant hot flashes almost every evening and at night.
  • Weight gain: unfortunately, another aspect of menopausal transition was weight gain. Far from being chubby, I rapidly gained enough weight (8 kilos or 16 pounds) that I had to put away a few of my favourite pants and skirts that were a strict size 36 (FR) or 4 (US), that the inside of my thighs now nearly touch each other, and that I have “love handles” (and no one to handle them but this is all right.)

There were also some hard realizations: people no longer call me miss, I have celebrated 21 years with my current employer, I can no longer learn as well and as fast as before.

What am I doing about it?

It took me a while to put two and two together, for starters, and to work on a plan.

I have a minimal plan of action to close all of my activity rings as much as possible. My smart watch sees that I do, although I’ve had it seven months so you could say it took me a while to make a plan. Better late than never!

Screenshot of my closed activity rings
Screenshot of my closed activity rings

New Coralie exercises and tonight was the fourth day I jogged. I go with my dog who runs about four times more (and most times ends up splashing in the river along which we run). I run and walk for 20 or 30 minutes. Every evening so far I have run more than the previous day. This is encouraging! I’m keen on making steady progress.

That is all.

October 2020 update

I took this exercising plan very seriously and now it’s part of my daily routine \o/

How did it work?

  • I became addicted rather quickly, thankfully, because otherwise this would not have been a thing at all!
  • The other thing that helped was that I was also very curious and enthusiastic about my rapid and steady progress, therefore I was motivated.
  • And lastly, I set myself up for success: only non-ambitious goals, realistic expectations, and achievable plans. In practice for me it meant it had to be easy enough to do that I would not give up. For example, taking the dog out for a walk or run was good for me too. Or walking to the beach to eat a picnic. Or doing yoga or core training in the comfort of my living room, following a YouTube video series (yoga with Adriene, in my case).

It took me 6 months to lose that extra weight (it was in the vicinity of 10 kilos —20 pounds). some time in September I was able to put my favourite trousers again \o/

But there were other benefits that I discovered early on: more strength in the core, legs and arms, more mobility. Two concrete examples:

  1. When I started running I needed knee braces, especially for the right knee. That knee had been giving me grief for a few years and I didn’t think it could be fixed, but gaining strength did! After less than a month, I could feel the braces were no more useful. Since then, I no longer have knee pains, ever.
  2. My right hip gained mobility after a few months and I was able again to sit in cross-legged position without needing to lift up my leg to ease the pain. I now no longer have hip pain.


Workouts: 30
Time: 15:06 (average: 00:30)
Kcal: 4579 (average: 152)
Runs: 19
Walk: 10
Fitness: 1

Workouts: 63
Time: 26h59 (average: 00:25)
Kcal: 7622 (average: 120)
Runs: 26
Walk: 18
Fitness: 18

Workouts: 79
Time: 45h21 (average: 00:34)
Kcal: 11797 (average: 149)
Runs: 23
Walk: 31
Fitness: 25

Workouts: 54
Time: 35h15 (average: 00:39)
Kcal: 9200 (average: 170)
Runs: 16
Walk: 14
Fitness: 24

Workouts: 67
Time: 45h12 (average: 00:40)
Kcal: 12451 (average: 185)
Runs: 18
Walk: 14
Fitness: 35

Workouts: 46
Time: 23h02 (average: 00:30)
Kcal: 4764 (average: 103)
Runs: 4
Walk: 7
Fitness: 35

Workouts: 60
Time: 35h14 (average: 00:35)
Kcal: 7312 (average: 121)
Runs: 4
Walk: 13
Fitness: 43

Ma rencontre imprévue, imprévisible, et belle

Ce soir j’ai rencontré quelqu’un. Karima. Une dame d’âge mûr, habillée avec élégance et dont le visage évoquait celui de Sophia Loren, et qui aidait au service dans le restaurant italien où j’ai choisi de diner, un peu tard.

Elle avait envie de parler. Elle semblait contente de pouvoir me renseigner en français sur le menu. Les convives qui étaient là, à la tablée de quatre, étaient tous italiens et elle ne parlait pas la langue. Les clients qui sont arrivés après moi étaient aussi des italiens. Décidément. Il ne restait que la télé où BFMTV nous donnait les nouvelles, le chef en cuisine, et moi. Alors elle regardait la télé, elle arrangeait des choses ça et là, elle servait et desservait, elle disparaissait brièvement en cuisine.

C’est au moment du dessert qu’elle engageât la conversation, depuis une table devant moi, alors qu’inspirée par le reportage de BFMTV sur l’inhumation de Nelson Mandela, elle me fit part de son admiration pour le grand homme qui avait tant oeuvré pour son pays et l’humanité. J’acquiesçais et hochais la tête.

La vérité, c’est qu’entre les bruits de repas du couple d’italiens à ma gauche et le son même faible de la télé, je ne l’entendais pas assez pour la comprendre et je ne parvenais pas à tout lire sur ses lèvres.

Je reconstituais tant bien que mal les phrases, et priais que mes réponses et mouvements de tête s’accordaient bien avec ses propos. “Mandela a quand même passé vingt-sept ans en prison !” “Il a failli être exécuté.” [Karima traça un trait horizontal sur sa gorge avec son doigt] “En France … gouvernement de Giscard … puis Mandela libéré” Je n’ai pas saisi. “Afrique du Sud … Ma belle-fille vient de Cape Town.” “C’est bientôt l’anniversaire de mes jumeaux.” “Oh, lui ai-je répondu, vous avez des jumeaux? Mon frère et moi sommes jumeaux !” “Oui, ils auront 38 ans bientôt, ils sont Capricorne.” Le même âge que mon frère et moi. Karima partageait désormais des bribes de sa vie.

J’ai alors invité Karima à prendre place à ma table si elle voulait, en lui expliquant que je l’entendais mal. Une fois à proximité, malheureusement, elle baissa naturellement le volume de sa voix et certains de ses mots restaient couverts par ceux des voisins et de la télévision.

C’est ainsi. C’est ainsi que j’ai appris son prénom, celui de ses enfants ainsi que leur âge, leurs métiers, le pays où ils habitent. C’est ainsi que j’ai appris que Karima, mariée à l’âge de 15 ans, divorça à 28 ans et éleva seule ses deux enfants, les faisant voyager entre le Maroc, la France et Dubai, leur apprenant le protocole, la vie avec les riches, les pauvres, à donner au pauvres, etc.

J’ai appris en une heure une quantité de choses sur Karima et ses enfants, leur caractère, leurs récentes activités et leurs projets. Mais c’était surtout une rencontre imprévue, imprévisible, et belle.

Things for which I am grateful

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it!
Happy regular day to the rest!

My laptop acted up last night and today and what a prank it was for it to assess the disk corrupt, claim it can’t be fixed, and declare that reformatting and restoring from backup were in order. Turned out the disk got repaired and I tweeted I’m grateful for it:

This is the short-term gratefulness and there are other things I am deeply grateful for: I am healthy and literate in a country where life is good, I have a family of good people, I have a son whom I love from the bottom of my unfathomable heart, I live with his sweet father, I have a job I live for and colleagues who are kind, talented, dedicated, funny that I admire them. This is a fraction of the things I am grateful for. Today I thought about them, and I’m thankful.