As this spring sputters along, the greening and flowering are happening. The rain is doing its job, I try to tell myself during grey days/weeks. Straight sunshine is forecast for the next week, so we will all be smiling rather than shivering.
I fall. Often and painfully. So much so that I had a neuro consult last year to make sure it wasn’t a sign of something serious. It wasn’t. The doctor’s advice–walk with my feet further apart when the ground is slippery. With that simple tip, I made it through most of the winter on my feet, then wiped out on my icy driveway, wearing flip flops coming home from a pedicure. Ridiculous.
Looking to fit more exercise into my life, I have been walking to and from work when I can. Last Thursday, as I was walking carefully along a mucky part of sidewalk, I caught my toe on the edge of uneven concrete and down I went. Since then, it’s been days of sore muscles that hurt when I sneeze or laugh.
A day or two later, I was chatting with a young, pretty customer when she made an idle comment about being a klutz. I decided to speak my shame. “Do you fall a lot?” She replied in the affirmative, sharing her list of sprains and even broken bones. We laughed and shook our heads at our clumsiness, both relieved that we had found another like us. A very satisfying interaction.
Empathy is like that. Knowing that someone “gets” you is balm for the soul. It’s like a bandage on that less than helpful voice inside that asks, “what’s wrong with me?”; on the sense of shame and embarrassment we all feel in varying degrees as we move through this mess called life.
We think the term “aging gracefully” means looking younger than our actual age; I’m discovering that it actually means maintaining a fine balance of accepting some physical limitations while continuing to live my life with verve, willing to take sensible risks and willing to rest more to recuperate and recover. When I opened my first retail business back in 2005, I was 45 years old. I prided myself on being physically stronger than others my age. I used my bottomless energy to full advantage in all areas of my life. Until cancer came along but that’s a whole other life chapter.
Now at 57-1/2, I cherish the younger women who work for me for many reasons, including their ability and willingness to take up some of the slack in the physical aspects of running Heartfelt. Customers ask fairly often if I will open a store in St Paul or franchise Heartfelt, so other cities can share in the crafting fun. If I were in my 40s I might consider it. In my later 50s, I have a clearer idea of how I want to spend my days: crafting with children, in my “little shop around the corner”, not running between two or more stores, or writing how-to manuals for franchisees to follow. I may change my mind at some point but for now, I’m staying put, at least when I’m not out walking.