Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday reflections.

I've been thinking a lot lately about mortality, and just issues of getting older.  Can't avoid either, it seems.

My mother gives me pause, to think about the way we age, what we accept without question, and what we allow by our inattention.
God knows, I have been hard on my body.
When my children were little, their father and I cleared land, poured cement, built a house, had horses, hauled stone and hay and grain.......basically worked hard.   I had little, or maybe no, regard for the abuse my body took.  One time, I lifted a flat rock, so big, that it snapped one of my ribs.
Stupid, you say?
In later years, I had occasion (actually I had many) to go to the chiropractor.  He looked at my xrays, and said, "You haven't been very nice to your back, have you?"
Understatement.  He didn't really expect an answer, it wasn't really a question.
Then when I hit 40, I started running, and finished my poor knees off.  Though most people wouldn't listen, including my own daughters.  Running ruins knees.  Simple.  I wish now that I had power walked all those years.......I think it would have accomplished the same thing without the trauma.
But that's my opinion, which my aching knees can attest to.

This whole subject has been on my mind, watching my mother....
She had a coronary artery bypass at 68, 19 years ago.  She didn't exercise before that, other than gardening, and she hasn't exercised a day since.  We have tried to get her to walk around the block, or just up and down the street.  She isn't interested, never has been.
The problem with that, other than the fact that she is glued to, and mesmerized by, the incessant drone of daytime TV, is that now she can barely walk from the car to a restaurant, or a store.  Her legs are stiff, her muscles cramp up, and she threatens to fall down.  She is bent over like she has a dowager hump, but if you ask her to straighten herself up, she does.  It hurts, she says.  But she can.  She chooses not to.
Otherwise, she is in incredible shape, considering that she eats a minimum of ONE little tub of butter, and a grocery bag of  bacon, ham, sweets, ice cream and other junk, every week.
I wonder, if she had walked .......even for 15 minutes a day, how mobile would she be now?
It plagues me.
The bottom line is that my mother is depressed and has been for years.  She took an antidepressant for a short time, and the change was marvelous.  But she wouldn't continue, and no amount of discussion or persuasion would change her stance.
We don't like it.  But the truth is, you can only change yourself.

The upshot is this.
I hope to learn how to age from watching what my mother does, and wanting something different.

Here is my list:

1. If you find that the TV is on for more than an hour in the middle of the day, it is time to reevaluate.

2. Get up and walk out the door every single day.  Give your walk 10 minutes, and if you want to cut it short, that's ok.  Likely, you will find that after you have loosened your body up, you will want to walk more.
When I walk, it's a chance to soak up the quiet......I hear the birds, the jingle of Roy's collar, the sound of our feet on the path.  It's time to reflect, to process, to exhale.

3. Stay current, even if you don't agree with what is going on in the world.  Stay interested, inquisitive, keep reading, and listening, and questioning.  Go to the library, volunteer, work at something, no matter how small.  Google.
4. If your children, or your friends, tell you that you are depressed, talk to someone.  If talking to someone doesn't help you to 'snap out of it', take drugs.  Try a few to find the one that works best, but don't waste your life feeling bad.  You don't have to.  Being happy IS a choice.
5. Dessert is lovely.  Have some.  But try to feed your body what you know it deserves, at least most of the time.
6.  Try to enjoy the ride.  It doesn't last forever.


Lee said...

Good post...going through the same things with my Mom. She refuses to do any exercise; is winded and in pain after grocery shopping. Now wonders how she can get in shape for her grand daughter's wedding.
She wants to visit our cottage but makes me miserable when she is here~can't sleep and in pain, especially without her recliner. So she is in the living room with the television on all night-LOUD (hard of hearing as well). Love her but don't want to spend much time with her so feel guilty.
She demands that she live at home. Cried everryday while in rehab (after her third hip surgery) until my brother took her to his house where she got little or none of the PT she needed. Now he sees her rarely, helps out not at all since he has three sisters who will handle it.
I am learning important lessons on how I will treat my children if/when I get to be in that stage/shape of my life.
Thanks for the thought provoking post. Also for letting me vent.
Enjoy the day!

Karen said...

Words to live by, Hilary. I'm trying to do exactly that.

and you know.. I believe that exact ferris wheel comes to the Durham fair every year at the end of September. I have the picture that says it's probably so...

Abby said...

Wow. Definitely food for thought. Thank you for sharing - and helping many who have not thought about this much or at all. I liked your last statement - gave me pause.

Peg Cherre said...

Once again, you've provided a great list of 'rules.' I know myself well enough to know that I need to make rules for myself (such as you must drink 2 glasses of water before you make yourself a cup of caffeine) or I'd be in trouble. If only I could figure out what rules make sense to lose the many pounds of extra weight I carry.....

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Good wise post this morning. I did high impact aerobics for a long time and suffer with a knee that can give me aches if I'm not careful. But who knew?

Hilary said...

Fine advice my namesake and friend. I do notice that when the blehs hit, I almost always realize I'd not been out walking for a while. Everything feels better after a walk out in nature. You make great points, as always.

Daryl said...

a fabulous post. after toonman's hospitalizations last year he has learned his lesson and his body is the better for it ... he now walks almost every day which is better than not walking at all

Anonymous said...

Here, here! I so agree with every point you made. Except for the tv, I never, I mean never watch tv in the daytime. We are not big tv people and rarely care what is on the stupid thing at any given time of the day. It is beyond me why people waste their lives glued to the tv.

Sondra Van Huss said...

Words to live by! I believe we all have seen our aging parents just give up when they get "older" but those in the 50-70 age group now seem to be more interested in staying engaged - usually better educated and much more inquisitive. This generation (baby boomers) were and are gifted with a desire to learn and accomplish great things with their lives and went out and did it! I'm afraid we don't get a "do-over" so now is the only time we have so we need to make the most of it!

claudia w said...

Thank you for the reminders! I am taking better care of myself although I could do even better. I have lost 23 pounds and that feels WONDERFUL! Have many more to go, but this time I am determined. I'm walking a little more, because it's easier too.
Love reading your posts, I always gain something from them and you!

Candy Duell said...

Great post! I agree with all of the above. I just retired and have taken a walk or two, just not nearly as much as I should. Thanks for your thoughts, I also enjoy them!

Country Girl said...

Such good advice. I need to walk more - damn the heat.

ain't for city gals said...

I think that is why I continue my jogging to this just makes me feel better in so many ways. I still jog but have never done any hills and stay on semi-soft hard streets...I think that is what puts so much stress on your knees. Good post...we have to keep trying.

kelly said...


Thanks so much for this post. My mom is glued to the tv all day. It drives me nuts, but I release it.
Your blog always makes me smile. It gives me hope of learning to weave one day! Wish I lived closer to you, I would definitely take your weaving weekend/bootcamp!

I am heading out to walk right now. Thanks again for your words of wisdom!

Unknown said...

Ditto, very well said. Someone up there added water, very important. Someone added walking lifts the mood...exactly. My grandmother decided at age 85 that she had lived long enough, she dud Nothing ti help herself in any way, so she sllooowly fell apart...for another 9 years. She also gave into a fear of staying in the house alone, criminy! I have decided that should the time come when I can not live in my own home, I will start with assisted living and just Visit my kids, I don't want to Live with them. Right now it's too humid for my Annie to go for a walk, she poops out, lays down and won't budge.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Such wise advice! As they say---whoever "they" is. "Lose it or lose it". Orthopaedist told my daughter recently. "Our bodies were designed to move".

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