Learning New Things: Hamstrings

I was never a person, even as a young girl, who could touch her toes.

As my body has aged, I have progressed from “naturally inflexible” to rigidly stiff and pained.  Yesterday The Lovely Daughter and I went hiking, on mildly strenuous trails through a rocky gorge.

nelson ledges

The downward trails were challenging to these achy knees and uncompromising thighs.  A couple of times I chose slides on my rear rather than attempts at navigating the trail.  And today ~ oh, I am feeling old!

I came home and did some reading.  Probably many of you are aware of studies showing that being able to rise from a seated position on the floor without using hands and tables and chairs for assistance is a sign of overall health and future longevity.  I gave it a try.  It appears that my demise is imminent.

This afternoon I educated myself about hamstring muscles, the muscles that help to form the backs of our thighs.  (How did we tolerate life before the internet, with libraries closed on Sundays?)  There are three of them, the hamstrings, and they wrap around and find their final resting place alongside the knee ~ and thus their stiffness accounts for not only mobility challenges, but also for knee pain.

And so I have a new yoga and stretching program, focused, to start with, on those poor hamstring  muscles.  It has occurred to me that, when I broke my ankle some years ago, the physical therapy required after surgery began with the smallest of (attempted) movements, repeated several times a day, and transformed me from someone who could not move her ankle even a fraction of an inch in any direction into a regular walker again.  It took months, but it happened.  Why not repeat the process?

My rapid decline is not inevitable, I think.  I have no ambitions like The Quiet Husband’s ~ he runs in senior track meets! ~ but I have modest goals for long walks and strength and flexibility.  Maybe even backpacking again.

With my newfound anatomical knowledge, I feel a slight surge of optimism.

 

Photo: Nelson Ledges in Northeast Ohio.

Lenses

I’ve been thinking a lot of late about the lenses through which I view life.  I suspect these are natural reflections for one moving into the third third: How do I see, why, and do I want to make changes?  They are also an outgrowth of the current political climate in America, as we try to make sense of the reality that people whom we love and admire espouse views and understandings so different from ours.

My own lenses, in no particular order:

Life is filled with injustices that we are called to address.

Life is difficult and chaotic, and also elegant and dazzling.

Faith is a matter of both deep darkness and glorious light, depending.

Hospitality is very good; nationalism is very bad.

My own personal life is mostly a function of astounding privilege.

Maybe I’ll write about these.  In no particular order.

 

 

 

 

Stuff

As Quiet Husband and I contemplate The Third Third of our lives, it is profoundly apparent that we are Stymied By Stuff.

We have been married nearly 44 years, have lived in the same house for 34 of those years, have raised three children and cared for a menagerie here, have replaced two bathrooms and a backyard space, and have filled three floors, three attics, and a full basement with Stuff.

We have read and dreamed about downsizing, and looked at smaller houses and condos, but before we can do anything about those fantasies, we have to evict the Stuff.  I have, of course, read about Kondo-ing, other decluttering methods, the spirituality of de-cluttering — all of the authors amateurs, I have to say.  Marie Kondo, for instance, recommends starting with something that does not spark an emotional response — books, for instance.  Ha ha ha.  Repeat.  Ha ha ha. She has a limited understanding of the bond some of us enjoy with our books!

I have reluctantly accepted, per the counsel of friends who were once in a similar situation, that this is at least a two-year project, one which I commenced yesterday.

Phase One: Locate photos in one place.  I have chosen the second floor linen closet.  If they don’t all fit there, then there are too many. Yesterday I began to clean out the bottom of four shelves to make a space.

Plastic bins of medicines; random picture frames; even more random snapshots; some supplies which must have come from some surgery I have mercifully forgotten about; an old jewlery box containing actual jewelry plus the 1.5 letters which constitute the only handwritten communications my mother left behind, an early ultrasound of my boys, and some other stuf f through which I have yet to sift.  Result: Two bags of trash, a clear-er space, and that jewelry box still to be addressed.

It took me an hour.  Maybe I need to modify my expectations from two years to ten.

 

 

 

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