Big fat “do-overs” keep aging at bay

I’ve often wondered if there’s a tipping point that
ushers one into old age. Does it surreptitiously creep in
over years or is there some precipitating event that specifically turns the tide?

Well, maybe it’s a little of both.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I seriously sprained my knee back in February. The mishap blessed me with a special trip to the ER, crutches, ice packs, more than several fortifying bottles of Pinot Noir, time languishing in front of the “Property Brothers” on the flatscreen, and a big dose of disappointment when I cancelled my March bike trip in Spain.

I had expectations that my knee would heal quickly and I’d be ready to reschedule the trip in June. But, ain’t no way. Healing takes longer than in earlier days.

The disagreeable reality is that I’ve had to stop moving … at least stop moving as much as my brain and body is accustomed to.

Out of necessity, the injured knee has prompted me to devise some new movement strategies. I quickly learned to use my arms to push myself out of the chair. I learned to pull myself up the stairs using the baluster rather than climb with my legs. I learned to lean on the bedposts for balance when I get up in the middle of the night and then to hang onto the railing to help myself downstairs in the morning.

You could call me creative. And you’d be right. I’ve implemented a grande scheme to successfully accommodate a disabling injury.

It may sound like I’m patting myself on the back for being so smart but I have to admit that my strategic plan is no more brilliant than what many others have been obliged to do many times before me. At one time or another, we all need a temporary strategic plan to get along.

There’s one potential hazard to this brilliance, though. A temporary strategic plan can unobtrusively metastasize into a long-term disabling habit.

Mine did and after fully recognizing my inattention, I’m ready to make a change!

Here’s my simple new strategy. I plan to seek out and welcome every opportunity to challenge the strength in my legs.

From now on, no more pushing with my arms to get up out of the chair. If I do, I must sit down and do it again correctly. No more pulling myself up the stairs. If I do, I must go down stairs and use my legs as they’re designed. No more holding onto the railing as I go downstairs. I’ll slow way down and thoughtfully navigate my way, no hands, step by step.

I’ve been engaged in a lot of “do-overs” lately, but that’s the way habits change. My legs will get strong and remember what they’re meant to do by hook or by crook. It’ll take some time, awareness and intention. But I’ll get there.

I know all the “do-overs” will be worth it, of course. But just to be safe, I’ll let myself continue to rely on the sturdy bedposts in the middle of the night, at least for now. After all, I’m an astute 61 year old who wants to celebrate year 62 this coming birthday, rather than 70.

I realize that aging can’t be denied. My new plan is to not let it creep up and take me by surprise.

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