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Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Mom, You Need To Pick Up Your Feet"

When my daughter, Robin, told me I was shuffling that’s when I decided to look for a cane. Way back in my blogs you can read about that in a piece called Stanley, My Sidekick. Then I saw my new cane in a positive way. To me it looked sporty, or maybe even aristocratic. Lately I have to admit, I need that cane. And with it I am better able to take Robin’s advice and pick up my feet. No one thinks of me as old because of that cane, do they?

I thought not at first but now I think I was wrong. People stepped aside for me, made a path, hastened to open doors or help me over curbs. Was that because of my cane? Oh well, that was not altogether bad, but when I’d catch a glimpse of myself passing a store window I didn’t like the impression. I hadn’t noticed before that my back, which had always been erect, was beginning to hunch over a bit. Was that the fault of the cane? Well, by then I liked the feel of the cane. It gave me security, prevented the occasional walk which might give just a hint of “one too many.” I knew I could walk unaided with Stanley quite nicely inside my house, but he was good company outside, like having a handrail at my side. Stanley stayed.

I do have to admit though that I’ve become a little surprised at how I’ve changed in just the last year or two. I sometimes feel like I’m playing a part in some play where I’ve been cast as an elderly lady. That’s it. Playing a part. Grasping the fact that in any given room I’m probably one of the oldest has crept up on me too. I always used to think I was one of the youngest, and perhaps I was. When did that change?

I can tell you when it changed. Just before I started writing this blog. I saw the years piling up and began to wonder how I could put a positive spin on that. But the mere admission of age and old age in particular soon began to ricochet and symptoms began to spook me.  Like the mirror over the sink in the bathroom and cameras whose pictures made me ask, “Who’s that?.” Before I’d been not nearly so focused on age, good or bad. 

True, I have found a number of good things about these added years and I like to say, “I prefer getting old because the alternative can't be so nifty!” But that puts me in the position of having to prove it. When I was a kid I loved to run, swim, roller skate, even ice skate and ski. Later I rode bicycles, and much later I played golf with my husband, and even went jogging with him until I thought better of that. I don’t have any desire to act young or do those things anymore but neither do I want to act old. And that’s exactly what if feels like, that I’m acting. Can this really be me? I ask myself when I notice that I’m wobbling or stuttering or slumping. 

So, what do I do? I start thinking about how I can do better. Pray, get organized, stay sharp in my mind and quit shuffling. Straighten up, I tell myself. Use your cane, but use it as if it were not a necessary appendage. Moving to The Willows is going to help me a lot. There are many interesting activities one can participate in but they are not mandatory. People are all genuinely considerate, friendly and loving. I find myself admiring the beauty in others whether they use a cane, a walker, or not.

I walked over to no. 312 this morning to see how the guys are progressing with my new home and when I opened the door, gloryosky! the new flooring has been installed! It is a light hardwood and it’s beautiful! It’s in the entry, the hallway, and the dining room. One day soon I’ll see new sinks in the kitchen and bathroom as well as new fixtures and countertops. Then there will be beautiful new carpeting, a general finishing touch to everything, curtains hung, and final inspection.

I did something yesterday that I hadn’t planned to do so soon. I found a lovely new sofa-bed and a perfect dinette set. My old lady self said, “Wait, this is the first you’ve seen except on-line.” My younger spontaneous self said, “But these are perfect! The money is in the bank. Well, practically. Why do I need to think it over?” Guess which one won.

These new pieces of furniture are all I need or want now for the new home. The store is holding them for me (after paying for them, of course,) and they will move in with me whenever the jobs are done. I’m grateful and glad. There are a few left-overs in the fridge which I’ll now warm up. I’m feeling hungry, I’m feeling blessed, and even if I’m getting older, things are certainly getting better for me in a host of ways. Guess I’ll go on blogging. No need to change the name of the blog just yet.



  1. I like to think of Anna in the King and I...just the first two lines make a big difference!

    Whenever I feel afraid
    I hold my head erect
    And whistle a happy tune
    So no one will suspect
    I'm afraid.

    While shivering in my shoes
    I strike a careless pose
    And whistle a happy tune
    And no one ever knows
    I'm afraid.

    The result of this deception
    Is very strange to tell
    For when I fool the people
    I fear I fool myself as well!

    I whistle a happy tune
    And ev'ry single time
    The happiness in the tune
    Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

    Make believe you're brave
    And the trick will take you far.
    You may be as brave
    As you make believe you are

    You may be as brave
    As you make believe you are

  2. This may be your best one yet, Joyce. Your ability to dissect human emotion is cathartic and comes through crystal clear in this piece. I love the contrast of struggling to get older with the joy of new furniture and getting something to eat at the end. Simple pleasures in finding the joy and blessings in life seems to be the ultimate answer for us all - and trusting God and prayer are the keys to getting there. You are a great inspiration and your gift of writing it "getting better as you are getting older!" lotsa luv, Julie