The Things I Can’t Do Anymore

Whether we like it or not, age creeps up on us all. All of a sudden we find we have to be more careful going up and down stairs, or bending over too quickly to pick up a pencil, or eating that last slice of pepperoni pizza at midnight. And the list goes on; all the stuff we used to do with no trouble at all are in the past.

Now this doesn’t mean we need to just sit quietly in a rocking chair, putting our dentures in a glass and reading a book with extra-strength reading glasses and a magnifying glass. Let’s just say that there are some things we need to do, and some things we need to stop doing.

For example, going up and down stairs used to be literally a hop, skip and a jump for me. These days I am very careful to put my whole foot down carefully, hang on to the railing, and pay attention. That last bit is crucial; we need to pay attention to how we walk, use the stairs and so on.

Trust me, this certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s just being careful. Here’s my short list of stuff I no longer do (because I will probably hurt myself):

  • no running up and down the stairs; in fact, no running at all—WALK.
  • no eating spicy food right before bed
  • no more jumping right out of bed; go s-l-o-w
  • no standing on my head
  • no more climbing trees
  • no more *hula dancing
  • no more trying to do everything at once
  • no more trying to do everything every day
  • no more worrying about things I can’t change (this is a tough one to break!)

These mornings I don’t get out of bed until I’ve done my back exercises. I don’t rush any longer, either. My saying these days is “big deal, so what, who cares!” There’s no shame about letting go of some of the things we used to do; it’s just a matter of what works for us.

And here’s the thing; just because we have to leave some things behind, there are always new things that we can do. Here’s my short list of new stuff  I do instead of those things I have had to leave behind:

  • More pond walks
  • More cooking and bakine
  • More easy exercises
  • More reading
  • More writing
  • More time with friends
  • More time with the grandgirls
  • More attention to our six kitties
  • More appreciation of everything every day

…and I’m working on more. I’ve learned the hard way that it makes no sense to mourn the past and wish I was young again. What does matter is being “in the Now.” As what was famously said in Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail,” “I’m not dead yet!”

*Ah, how I hated to leave that one! Years ago I had shoulder surgery and shortly afterward I tore my rotator cuffs. At the time, I wasn’t working, so I didn’t have health insurance, so I couldn’t get more surgery. Hula involves the arms and shoulders (and of course, hips and feet), and I found it was just too painful to keep my arms up.

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