|The stream in the Church Mountain meadows|
It improved quickly, once I accepted the situation and stopped going up and down hills and curtailed my walking somewhat. In fact, getting sick a few weeks ago was the first time it really improved, because I was off my feet for three days. It's such a hard thing to stay off my feet entirely, even without doing my regular routine. I found that bicycling on the stationary bicycle at the gym didn't hurt it at all and I ended up doing that most days, since I couldn't attend my usual aerobic class. Strangely enough, yoga didn't seem to hurt it, so I continued that too. I was not completely immobile after all, but it was such an annoyance.
One of my blogging friends, Linda, wrote a post a while ago that summed it all up for me. She called it "A Thousand Little Pestilences." She recounted several annoyances that kept her going to specialists for treatment, and I could relate to every one except for the hearing aid problem. I know I have lost hearing in my left ear, and probably my right one, too, but it's not a problem for me so I haven't had it checked. Maybe I should. My left ear has some tinnitus occasionally, a clicking that goes on for a short while and then stops. If it continued, I would have more of a problem with it, but it's intermittent and not really a problem. When I lay on my right side in bed, I can't hear the crickets outside my window and everything gets a little quieter.
Now that I am able to enjoy my usual aerobic activity, my mood has improved; there is no doubt in my mind that I am addicted to physical exercise. When I exercise hard enough to break into a sweat and then have a nice hot shower and step into clean clothes, I feel just great. Leaving the gym after a workout and walking around in the spring sunshine makes me happy and content. The whole rest of the day looks better after that, which is one reason I get up early and am finished and back home by noon.
The only day that doesn't have exercise built in is Sunday. The one thing I have on Sundays in my self-imposed schedule is this post, the one I am writing right now. I get up and make a cup of tea, and then I head back into bed and prop myself up with pillows as I create a post. Sometimes I have a hard time getting started, and other times it just flows out of my fingers. This morning I had a topic in mind, which is that ageing is a process that we are all in together. There is no way to stop the process except by dying, the final chapter of this adventure we call life.
In my yoga class, the teacher always starts the class with a reading from B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of this particular type of yoga. Lately we have been talking about samskaras that we carry with us, unconscious habits of behavior. From that Wikipedia link:
In the philosophical theories of Hinduism, every karma (action, intent) leaves a samskara (impression, impact, imprint) in the deeper structure of human mind. This impression then awaits volitional fruition, in the form of hidden expectations, circumstances or unconscious sense of self-worth. It manifests as tendency, karmic impulse, subliminal impression, habitual potency or innate dispositions.I realized that in my own life, samskaras often manifest themselves as being in a rut, being unable to even see that rut, making it virtually impossible to change. My sense of self-worth is tied to exercise, obviously, and that makes me a little uncomfortable, as I know that as I get older I will find it harder and harder to continue my level of activity. Hopefully other activities will emerge if I am able to be nonjudgmental about it all. The thing is, I am not alone in my anxiety about this process called ageing. We are all in this together.
The image of being on a life raft, a rather large one, with people continually getting on and continually slipping off the edge seems rather appropriate. A life raft that holds a certain number of us cannot be sustained unless some of us are willing to leave. In a manner of speaking, this is the life raft we are all on. I find myself looking over the edge into the dark water below and wondering if one day it will invite me to dip my toes in. Well, of course it will, and I may not look forward to that day, but I know that it is in my future. What I get to choose is not whether or not I go, but how. Right now it seems far in the future, but who knows? Each day I live I realize is a gift. That each of us has here, together, is a gift that should be appreciated and lived to the fullest.
Joining my fellow Trailblazers was not without a price. Although my knee was fine, the rest of me felt the impact of that strenuous hike, and although three days have passed since then, my leg muscles are still very sore. It was just over a month of hiking that I missed, but it was long enough for me to get out of shape. And it wasn't like I was in my easy chair the whole time. Getting older means putting more and more effort into the constant upkeep of this body. I wrote a post not long ago about this being the year that I started to fall apart. But actually, it's just the time when I first began to notice. It gives the phrase "keep yourself together" a whole new meaning. I'm doing the best I can.
Every single day I am reminded that I am a septuagenarian. I think of this as being my last active decade, and once I reach eighty (if I am so fortunate), I'll take up basket weaving or something. But not unless I find out why I am so addicted to exercise and find a suitable replacement activity. All my life I have been giving up things, so you'd think I'd be an expert by now. But no, I have conveniently forgotten that I was ever able to run, to play hopscotch, to ski, to skydive and pack my parachute for days on end. Those activities are now out of reach.
I am extremely fortunate to be able to lead the life I do, even with all the limitations that are placed upon it. I've learned that it's possible to be happy with less, in fact it seems to be what I'm called upon to learn even better. I'm surrounded by like-minded friends, and I am continually pleased to realize that I've got a virtual community that is a new and wonderful addition to the world: the blogging community. Although it's only been around for a short while, it now is a lifeline for many to connect with others like ourselves. It's no coincidence that most of you are older and dealing with the same issues. As I said before, we're all in this together, but boy am I glad to have your company!
It's happened again: I've written a post from the brain froth that coalesced here on this page, with only a topic to guide me, and several stops and starts to get to this place right here. I'm hoping that this coming week will bring you peace and contentment, and I wish the same for myself. Until next week, when we meet again, I wish you all good things.