Back in 2015 a friend suggested I was in denial of my age when I embarked on psychotherapy training and bought myself a low level two door sports car. I was 60 years old then. I graduated in 2019, both the car and the training felt self-actualising. Now, I know it was my rebellious Child ego state that pushed me forward towards the unimaginable personal growth my training gave me.

Once my dissertation was handed in, I joined the gym and felt the powerful effects of Body Pump, Body Combat, Circuit Training and regular swimming. There was no stopping me now. I was in full age and death-defying mode.

Then came COVID-19 and with it, a creeping of unease about my mortality. Since being hospitalised in my late 20s with a severe asthma attack, my health has been good. Asthma is only triggered by an occasional chest cold. I generally have no need to use an inhaler. My annual asthma review felt an unnecessary chore, but I noticed a sense of looming dread began to take hold.

On 17 March, before the official lockdown, I self-isolated for 14 days having been hugged by my ill daughter-in-law who had a high temperature. I felt alarmed by the accounts of breathing difficulties suffered by people with of COVID-19. I was reminded of being in hospital back in the 80s struggling to breath watching a goldfish swim around in a tank. I knew I was alive while I could see that fish. Fortunately, I was okay.

Lockdown arrived and my gym closed its doors. I continued with my exercise regime for a few weeks on Zoom, started to work remotely with clients and signed up for a certificate course in online therapy. So, the self-actualising part of me was getting me through. I was adjusting to the new normal. Then I got the letter on 13 April that I was in the vulnerable group. The rebellious part of me kicked in big time as I raged about my kitchen. What I could not understand was why me, when others I know who were more vulnerable than me have not had a letter. I dismissed my previous feelings of vulnerability as my desire for autonomy became dominant.

I calmed down and for the greater good accepted my status in the vulnerable group. I have mostly adhered to the guidelines for the vulnerable category (the dogs and me needed a daily walk in the park). The most difficult thing is not having physical contact with grandchildren. I have given up on my Zoom exercise regime but I’m waiting for the delivery of a stepper. So not giving up on denial of my physical age just yet. And I am now a certified cyber therapist which is something I would not have considered before COVID-19. But I can’t wait to get back in the world and have human contact.