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Keep Fit and Happy

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Good morning lovely people

Are you sitting down. Nonna G is starting Tai Chi.

Apparently at 95 she’s eligible for the advanced (fitness, not age) class. She’s joined because her other fitness class has stopped as she was the only attendee. These are all free classes. She’d heard that all pensioners are to qualify for the triple lock, she’s hoping this is one of the moves.

Nonna aside, it’s wonderful that there are activities for our older community, gets her out of the house for an afternoon, but it does make you think about priorities. School buildings, theatres, libraries facing closure and cut backs and how did they not know about RAAC? Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, like most materials, is surprisingly “susceptible to deterioration over time”. Many buildings from the 60’s and 70’s, peak Nonna G time, are now no longer fit for purpose or safe.  When these buildings were built, in the good times, there was I can imagine an air of also sharing good times for future generations. For many this seems to have halted and we’re heading back not forward.

The Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2023 was out last week. Very sad reading. Happiness levels in young girls have significantly declined over the past 15 years with only 17% feeling very happy compared to 40%, still low, in 2009. (I’m sure the Scouts would have similar but maybe not as bad results).  89% of females aged 7-21 feel generally worried or anxious.  What have we done?  I wasn’t asked if I was happy at that age. I was and my friends seemed to be too.  Were they hiding underlying issues? The report touches on many points that weren’t relevant to my and earlier generations, so they probably weren’t hiding anything.  Were aspirations and expectations lower? I grew up with many female figureheads at home, in sport, in politics so I don’t think aspirations for women were any less but clearly there have always been challenges. Did these reflect in happiness levels? Are we presenting too many choices so our children are simply confused? Online access and social media is the obvious guilty addition to the problem. What’s sad is that the shift in wealth created by these technological tools has created a much bigger gap for society. Our wider community’s wellbeing has decreased both in wealth and for some their happiness too.  We’ve been sold something or we’re choosing to buy into something that’s not serving everyone equally well.

Our own children are in the age demographic of these results and it makes both Victor and me incredibly mindful of how our actions have an impact, but like all parents we’re also not 100% in control. There are many influences that we are blind to never mind powerless over.  What algorithms are working against us that we may never know of?  Government policy is a significant contributor particularly around funding choices and the gender debate will only make this even more complex.  Decisions across the board will however affect the whole family.  We have long term team members, who have been living in Scotland for 20 years and more. They have had no choice but to head home to Europe to have essential operations as NHS scheduling is delayed by years.  Private medical assistance isn’t an option. They are fortunate that they have an alternative choice, but most don’t.  Nonna can get free exercise classes but children can’t get free child care to allow mothers to go to work.  Most children’s activities have to be paid for and many children are left out as it’s just too difficult for some families financially.  Have we got our community choices right? Who deserves more when many have less?  I’m glad I don’t have to decide. Most of us may not even be able to agree.

Our governments can’t be responsible for everything, but there is much that falls under their watch and they do need to stand up, look around and see the damage choices are making. As a community we’ve also got to take action to support a healthier happier future for our young girls and boys. Nonna G is definitely all right, left, bend and touch your toes.

It can be too early to talk about Christmas, but we think mid September is just about right.

Keep well, keep exercising (I need to start now the Festival is long past) and keep checking in with our young ones, their happiness is all our happiness.


PS My nephew has launched a new company, Woolkind.  He loved knitting when he was tiny and it’s a dream come true that he’s working with a dear friend to create environmentally conscious clothing.   Luxurious but beautiful gifts worth having a look at, perfect timing for Christmas gifts (that aren’t restaurant vouchers)  www.woolkind.com

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