As I get older, my feet and my fingers are no longer my own
It may be that I’m looking for problems, but it seems that I’m more often fumbling a cup or a bowl when I take it from its cupboard. Sometimes I can field it on the way down, but if it’s one I’m fond of, it’s more likely to smash on the floor. Those mugs that someone brought back from holiday one year that nobody ever drinks from are still grotesquely intact.
I can still thread a needle as long as I have my spectacles, so it isn’t that the hands are shaking. Maybe I always was clumsy. It’s true, I’ve never been good at tying tiny knots or working fine crafts such as embroidery.
But I remember taking pride in my ability to open any jar without gadgetary assistance. (Didn’t I say I’d start making up my own words when the thesaurus can’t find them for me?)
The difference now is undeniable; I can no longer open jars without one of those gizmos that helps you turn the lid (although on a bad day the wrists don’t want to allow that either).
I’m not sure why my grip now is so weak. It’s as if the flesh on my fingers has thinned and I’m trying to grip with bare bones
I have, however, discovered that breaking the vacuum seal with the end of a knife or thin spoon handle makes any new jar easy to open, which has gone some way to restoring my self-respect.
Walking the dogs gets ever more perilous on the days when my ankles or knees or hips threaten to give way. Things seem to have improved since I started with a simple exercise I found on the web. (Since you ask, it’s the one where you lift each leg in turn with feet turned out, like a penguin.) I know such exercises won’t knit crumbling joints, but it’s muscles that hold those joints together.
Even on a good day, I am less sure-footed walking the droves, or around the lake (not that I ever was sure of foot…) and if I turn an ankle, swelling takes longer to subside.
Like the legs, my wrists improve with exercise. (Look up carpal tunnel exercises, if you’re interested. I’ve tried several – the scattergun approach – so can’t say which has helped most.)
Don’t assume – as I did – that such simple exercises can’t be effective. In front of the TV is a good time for them, since I’m not doing anything else with my hands and feet. (The crochet is on hold at the moment. One family can only use so many throws, scarves and ponchos.)
I never had expectations of growing old gracefully; I’ve never been graceful in my life, so why start now? But somehow I didn’t forsee the creaks and crunches of ageing applying to me.
In our youth (and ‘youth’ is an ever-expanding parameter) we’re immortal in our own eyes.
Until we’re not.