Monday, April 9, 2012
CONCESSIONS TO AGING
A recent decision I made at Michael’s Craft store made me think about this aging process we all go through. I needed some cross-stitch material for a smallish project I had decided to do and figured a quick trip to Michael’s would get me started. For those of you who haven’t done any counted cross-stitching, working with material that has 11 stitches to the inch (11x) is where most beginners start out. As they get more comfortable with the technique, they buy material with more stitches to the inch, as it makes a little more detailed picture and is a little more challenging to do.
When I was doing most of my work I used material that had 22 stitches to the inch, and one time I even used 28x to the inch. That was a long time ago. To do this project I was contemplating now I thought I probably would use 18x. I looked carefully at the material, put it back and I looked at the 16x. Finally I settled on the 14x, almost the "baby" stuff. To say I was dismayed is putting it mildly. Luckily the project I was going to do doesn’t have a lot of detail to it and 14x will work fine. But using that size is very close to where I started out. And it’s all because my eyes aren’t what they used to be. I had to make a concession to my presbyopia, which is a nice term for “old or aging eyesight.”
My body is starting to require other concessions. A more major one than cross-stitching is the condition of my knees. Luckily, they don’t hurt me but they have acquired an ability to buckle when I least expect it. A while back I needed something out of an upper cabinet in the kitchen. I pulled a wooden chair over to the cabinet, grabbed the door handle of the fridge with my right hand and put my left hand on the counter. With my right foot on the chair seat I was hoisting myself to a standing position but my knee gave out. I started to go down bottom first, but since I was hanging on to the fridge door handle I didn’t hit the floor. Instead, I hit my rib cage on the seat of the chair and then I dangled until I got on my feet again. Luckily no ribs cracked, no bones broke, no tendons tore and I considered myself very lucky. At that point I conceded my ability to climb on a chair to get things. I’m too old to be doing that any more.
I have also conceded climbing stairs, scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen floor by hand, and looking under the davenport to find the cat’s toys. I can get down fine but getting up is another story – make that “problem.”
I have conceded having a nice cup of coffee with dinner, unless it is decaf. (Ugh). Or iced tea with dinner, unless it is herbal tea. Even the hint of caffeine will keep my eyes wide open until midnight.
I have conceded wearing shorts, as the state of my backside when I’m in shorts is nothing that I would want anyone to see. I see what old women’s legs look like, and I am just vain enough to want mine hidden from view as much as possible. So when summertime comes and brings with it 100+ weather I still strike shorts off the options of summer apparel. And I only wear tank tops if I have a blouse with sleeves to wear over it when I go outside. Inside the house I don’t care.
I have stopped eating carmels, salt-water taffy and certain candy bars because I fear that with every bite my teeth might leave my gums and affix themselves permanently to the candy. I am very careful with gummy bears and jelly beans for the same reason. In spite of my dentist, my teeth give me no assurance they will stay where I want them too. In fact, when I was still working I found the back half of one of my molars removed by a small chocolate chip cookie I was eating, necessitating a thousand-dollar root canal. There is no piece of candy worth that. So now I don’t eat anything more dense than a marshmallow.
Because Jerry and I both have physical conditions where we should not pick up heavy items to move them from place to place, we have to honor our limitations and either wait for one of our kids to come by or we call our maintenance department for help. Both are very accommodating.
Now let me think: Are there any plusses to this aging process? I can think of a few that are probably just peculiar to my own situation. One is that I no longer have to be in charge of big family dinners. Another is that I don’t have to get up for work but can sleep in to whatever time the cat will let me.
But best of all is that I can take an afternoon nap if I so choose.
*Image courtesy of cartoon-clipart.com