Me: Hi, my name is Janet and I’m limited.
Group: Hi Janet!
Me: Not only am I limited but I’m hardheaded, impatient and prideful.
Okay, so I’m not in any kind of support group...yet, but if I were this would certainly be my confession.
I have suddenly discovered that while my 59 1/2 year old self may look 62+ years old on the outside, my mind hasn’t convinced my body that I am almost 60.
Here’s my recent scenario. As some of you know who have been reading his blog,I fell walking my new/old dog last September. I really bit the dust by simply tripping over a bump in the road. Splat I was down before I knew what had happened. That was my fall # 1.
The second came Saturday night. I will say circumstances were beyond my control...a bit. I was attending a lovely wedding and the reception was so fun. Brooke and Jared were there along with both Midland and San Antonio friends and I was enjoying every second of it. The dancing was outside under a large tent and though it never rains in San Antonio, that night it was a deluge. The dance floor turned to mud and we were all slipping and sliding and having a great time. Around 11 p.m., wonder of wonders, 15 foot puppets on stilts dressed in S.A. style Day of the Dead bridal party attire entered the room and the festivities went to a whole new level of fun. While in the middle of a Conga line, I managed to trip over one of the tall people and land flat on the muddy dance floor. Okay, I will admit I had been a bit over served, but again I found myself a bit bloody and muddy as I limped home. Embarrassed, I did learn that I was one of quite a few people who took a spill that night. Still, I must count that as yet another tumble.
Two days later, Bonnie, Bos and Audrey were visiting. It was a beautiful day after a weekend of rain and sitting on my patio I was driven to hang some large metal wind chimes that I had yet to get to since moving. No time like the present, I went to grab an 8 foot ladder. Bos and Bonnie both voiced this to be a bad idea, but I was determined to get this task scratched off my to-do list. I positioned the ladder and admit the ground was soggy from our recent rain, but oh well, I would be fine.
A little aside here. When Steve and I talked of me moving into this house after he was gone, his one request was that I NEVER climb the rickety fold down attic stairs. He was so fearful I would fall and made me promise I wouldn’t put all of my Christmas stuff up there and be climbing up and down that ladder. I did as promised and built a room off the garage for my Christmas stuff.
I will admit that while the movers were moving me in I did climb into the attic, just once but there were 5 men around. They would hand me up all the left over baby items...cribs, carseats, highchairs, that I am no longer using...at the moment...but needed a place to store them, just in case another little one or two may appear--Brent?!?
So I did break my promise, just once and Jared has managed to keep me on one level since, as he and Brooke are just as fearful of me on a ladder as Steve was.
In fact, both Brooke and Jared seemed incredibly over protective and ridiculous concerning me climbing any height and have asked me repeatedly to let them do the climbing. I mean come on, I’m steady on my feet. I’m in fairly decent shape, I walk daily, I have been lugging heavy boxes in and out of houses the past month. I have contorted my body in unimaginable ways to plug cords into sockets discretely, I have tottered on my ladder countless times, reaching far beyond my limit to place something high on a shelf, making sure it was positioned exactly where it looked best from ground level. I could go on and on about my strength and agility, but I best get straight to the point.
They were right and I was wrong. Ugh, I hate admitting that, but it is so true. So back to my ladder in the mud positioned by a tree with Bos and Bonnie telling me they didn’t feel I was being cautious--in other words I was being dumb. Stubborn and self-assured I climbed that ladder to the top rung, Bonnie swung me the metal chain, I grabbed it and waited for her to lift the heavy, really heavy wind chime up to me. Once I grabbed hold of the wind chime, I felt the ladder shift with the extra weight. I was quickly losing my balance just as the ladder was shifting. The wind chime was too heavy, I let go and gravity grabbed me by the hand and I started going down. All I could see below me were large river rocks, metal flowerbed edging and the bottom ledge of a wooden deck. It was going to be ugly, all I could do was jump in order not to land face first. Hoping I would land on my feet, which I probably could have done 5 years ago, I didn’t. I landed on my arm, hip and whatever else followed. Bonnie was hit in the head by the chime and she also was gouged probably by me. It was not good, not pretty and I am still a mess.
So where in the world has my body gone? When did it happen that I became my parents, tottering and falling? That’s not supposed to happen until you get really old, then your children get you one of those med-alert buttons that you push because “you’ve fallen and can’t get up!”
I’ve never minded growing older. I’ve always liked each stage of my life, never being one to bemoan wrinkles and sagging (okay, I do, but just a little), I’ve always embraced aging, but that was when it dealt with appearance not aptitude. This is not acceptable.
I think deep down I have been trying to tell myself, I must continue to be independent, especially now that I am alone. I so don’t want to be one of those helpless women who is constantly calling family and friends to come rescue me from one of my mishaps. No, I want to be the independent single woman who can fix her own toilets, repair her own fence, clean out her own gutters, kill her own chicken and cook it...okay that’s going too far!
I have finally realized, I am almost 60. My health is good, but I am not capable of doing all the things that need doing. The fact is, I wasn’t capable of doing them at 40 either, but Steve was always more than capable and did so much work around the house and in the yard with such ease that I never thought twice about it. This is another of those times, when I shake my fist, stomp my feet and want Steve back. I want my old life back. I want that simple ease of asking him to fix something and knowing it would be done before the sun went down.
We don’t always get what we want. We can’t always do all the things we wish we could do. Life deals us our hand and we, I must learn how to play it.
They say third times charm, well believe me, I am waving the surrender flag. No more ladders and I am accepting the realization that along with wrinkles, drooping and sagging comes some imbalance, increasing frailty and acceptance that I can simply accept this whole aging process with some grace.
Oh, just one thing...I’ll never quit dancing!
2 Peter 1: 5-8 “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.”