With the winter now behind us and my muffin top threatening to morph into a Brioche, this morning I took myself off to a spin class.
It’s been over a month since I last graced the gym with my presence – a chest infection and school holidays have kept me at home, and in a distinctly weakened state. It’s hard to say what caused my state to weaken more, the chest infection or the school holidays, but either way I haven’t been able to get within sniffing distance of my trainers for a while.
So there I was, back in the darkened room and safely impaled on the ‘cushioned’ seat. I have to say it took me a while to remember how high the seat should even be and which way the peddles were supposed to turn. As is always the case at the start of a class the room was completely silent, except that is for two women near me who were in the middle of a deeply depressing conversation. Seeing as I was already strapped on the bike and had nowhere to go, I naturally tuned in my ears to listen.
One of the women was recounting the tale of an incredibly unlucky friend whose husband had recently suffered a heart attack, and dropped down dead in front of her. To make matters worse, he had no insurance, and as a result, the family home now had to be sold.
With this new and rather unsettling information sinking into my mind, and wishing I’d tuned my ears in the opposite direction, the class began.
For the next 45 minutes, as I sweated away like a beast and used all of my powers of self control to stop myself throwing up over the woman in front, part of me kept wondering why I had ever thought it a good idea to come to the gym this morning. The other part of me – the more dominant bit, that tends to mess around with my concentration – couldn’t stop thinking about this man. Or rather the widow that he’d left behind.
Like most people I suspect, the two things that I fear the most are the loss of my children and my husband – losing either would turn my world upside down. The very idea of some terrible happening to my family is something that doesn’t even bear thinking about. Yet I do. Probably far more than is considered rational or even remotely healthy.
For some unknown reason I have a tendency to keep living out these worse case scenarios in my head, and in doing so, making myself feel sick to the core. I wish I wouldn’t do it, but when my paranoia is triggered by distressing headlines or other people’s bad news, I can be like a woman possessed.
So as I’m peddling away, climbing imaginary hills and racing other stationary bikes, my brain is spiraling into a panic induced overdrive. What would I do if this happened to me? How would I deal with it? Where would I find the strength to get up in the morning and get through the day?
Several gears later and these questions are replaced by guilt – for not appreciating everything that my husband already does for me. Vowing to be an all round better wife, I peddle on with renewed vigour. Oh how my husband – who was at that time sitting in his office and as fit as a fiddle – would have laughed his coffee up at these irrational and melodramatic thoughts. He’s simply not enough of an emotional basket case to take it to these levels, and for that, and the fact that he has a truly proactive approach to death, I am incredibly grateful.
For what sets me apart from this other poor woman is that I know that even if I were to lose my husband, I would never lose my home. Being the ever practical man that he is (and working in the industry, which always helps), we are both insured up to the hairline, and worth far more dead than alive. Cheery thought that, but not terribly helpful it has to be said when it comes to paying the credit cards in life.
So now, whenever I get a bee in my bonnet about some hypothetical tragedy, he is always quick to point out that if he dies, whilst I may be alone, at least I will not be poor. And while I do of course protest that this will not make up for his absence, I know what a difference it would make. Of course I would still grieve and weep and wail, but at least I wouldn’t be forced to do it out on the street, or without a clue about how I was to house, feed, clothe and educate our kids.
That said, I still mutter loudly about the large amounts of money that leave our account every month to pay for the host of different insurance schemes, covering loss of life, limb and hubby’s income. It’s always galling to pay out for something that may never happen, but as my ever sensible husband would say, if you can’t afford to pay for your insurance every month, then you certainly can’t afford not to have any at all.
So to cut a long story short – the spin class ended, my heart rate returned to normal and I proceeded to extract the ‘cushioned’ saddle from my left Fallopian tube.
Somewhat short of breath and damp around the edges, I calculated that in the space of 45 minutes I had not only killed off my husband, mourned my loss and appreciated his knowledge of life insurance, but I had also lost just about enough calories to counter balance the Yorkie I wolfed down the night before. Quite an exhausting morning all in all, and one that I decided called for a Kit Kat to calm my shattered nerves.