Day 1 of the rest of Viv’s life: Row an Ocean

“Just because you’re grown up and then some doesn’t mean settling into the doldrums of…

Day 1 of the rest of Viv’s life: Row an Ocean

“Just because you’re grown up and then some doesn’t mean settling into the doldrums of predictability. Surprise people. Surprise yourself. (281)”

― Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit

Surprise! When I’m 59, I’ll be setting off to row the Atlantic solo and, at the time, I’ll be the oldest woman to do so. That’s definitely me surprising myself!

Which is fabulous but I’m not doing it for the record.  I am doing it because I’m a woman in my late fifties, because I’m a mum and because I’m post-menopausal. I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for women just like me. I’m doing it for us.

It’s a perception, of course, but I think women our age can be easily written off and we ourselves can begin to feel useless. We spin lots of plates when adulting and sometimes we do all of that spinning by ourselves – either by circumstance or by choice – but we can lose sight of just how phenomenal that ability to manage so much is.   

I got lost in all of that life. Somewhere along the way of being a mum to my girls, running a business, going through the menopause and caring for my mum who had Alzheimer’s, I was so busy and caught up in it all, I forgot who Viv was. 

Doing the row is my way of reconnecting with myself while, hopefully, doing some good for others too. 

I was inspired by ‘The Yorkshire Rows’. They were (and still are) four women from York in their 40s and 50s who set out to row the Atlantic in 2016 and also break a world record. I followed their story and was over the moon for them when they successfully rowed themselves the 3000 miles from La Gomera in The Canaries to Antigua. The thought that occurred to me was, ‘If they can do that, so can I.’ It didn’t go away.

Now my mum has passed and my youngest has grown and flown, I could choose to slonk on the sofa and ‘Binge-Flix’ while dulling the senses even more with red wine! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking that – for some people that would be heaven. But it’s not for me.  My dad is still around and I’ve got my beeswax wraps business, but this to me feels like settling. It’s not enough. I’m not ready for that and in my ripe old middle age I’ve finally discovered I’m worth more than that too. 

Most people row to raise money for a charity and I’m no different. My chosen one is The Menopause Charity. As a woman, whatever your experience of the menopause, it can have a massive effect on your psyche. Even more so if you’ve been misdiagnosed as it can be incredibly unsettling, to say the least. The Menopause Charity helps to support women through menopause and provide additional training to the medical profession so the symptoms are recognised quickly. It is important to me that at this point in our lives we are in the best position possible to live well in whatever way we choose and the charity helps us to do exactly that. . 

The way I choose to live well is to have a go at breaking a glass ceiling. I want to challenge myself as well as challenge assumptions and perceptions about older women in general. Just because we are in our 50s or more doesn’t mean we can’t go on to have surprising adventures and dazzle with our achievements. And if we want to, why shouldn’t that be in extreme sports? 

Come along for the ride, if you’d like to – I’d love to have you!

To follow Viv’s story on her way to the start of the World’s Toughest Row, go to: https://www.instagram.com/mumentous.atlantic.row/