They were all walking individually. Each was talking on the phone, heavily made up, hair beautifully arranged. They would have been a mix of late teens - early 20's and they were all in name brand sports gear. Mostly hot pants and crop tops.
They looked great, don't get me wrong, but I had a little epiphany when I passed the third or fourth one.
I am glad I am not them.
I'm sure they were thinking the same as the woman jogged past dripping sweat, face like a beetroot with a number 5 buzzcut and a toddler asleep in the pram. I would've thought the same at their age. Who goes out like that?
I've spent a lot, too much, of my life trying to look 'pretty' or 'sexy' or more something, anything. And I suddenly just do not care.
Not in a 'not going to shower' kind of way. In a 'I like who and what I am' kind of way.
I don't know when it happened.
I'm pretty sure it can be at least partially attributed to running. Possibly also medication, who knows.
I'm not saying I don't or won't have those moments of feeling lesser. I'm just saying that right now I am stronger.
Strong enough to shave my head and love it, which I've wanted to do for years but have never done out of fear.
Strong enough to look at my body and love it for it's increasing muscularity, and for it's uniqueness rather than focussing on its 'flaws'.
Strong enough to not wear makeup if I don't feel like it, and enjoy wearing it when I do.
Strong enough to look at those reminders of my 20 year old self with sympathy, not envy. Because I suspect their years of self appreciation are ahead of them too.
Strong enough to exchange a glance with the other sweaty, red-faced over 30's runners that says we got this. This is our time.