This week’s topic is one I selected. I have the feeling I was dealing with various medical issues in my family and bemoaning the fact that I’m not as young as I once was. Some days just don’t have enough hours because it takes longer to do everything, and on other days there’s enough time but not enough energy. I’ve had to accept the fact that I can no longer do everything I once did. So, the question I posed to my fellow bloggers this week was “If you could choose one thing you can no longer do and suddenly had the strength/time/resources to do once again, what would it be?”
I’m still able to do most of the things that give me joy. The only limitations for me are physical. My knees give me a lot of trouble, so I can’t climb lots of steps. This made visiting historical sites a challenge, as many ancient ruins in Greece and Japan were accessible only by walking, and the steps to get to them are steep and narrow. Even in America there have been times when steps stopped me from following my fellow travelers. A few years my daughters ran up the steps to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the iconic scene from the movie Rocky was filmed. My brother and sister-in-law followed at a slightly slower pace. I stayed at the bottom of the steps and took pictures, thinking “If I’d stayed in shape, I could have joined the rest of my family at the top.”
Another thing that I can do with physical limitations is to perform music. At one time I had plans to become a professional orchestra musician. However, my four years in undergraduate school convinced me that 1) there are LOTS of fabulous oboe players with more drive and determination to fill the limited number of orchestral seats, and 2) there are LOTS of other things I’d rather do with my time than practice hard enough to get one. So, I wisely chose to get my teaching degree and honestly have never regretted it. For a long time, my instruments made it out of the case perhaps once or twice a year, and it’s only within the last ten years that I’ve joined community groups that make it necessary to play regularly. My joints and my mind have aged, which means I can’t play with as much technical dexterity as I once did, but for the most part I can hold my own. But sometimes I wonder if I could have made it as a professional.
Another thing this aging body won’t let me do is to sit for extended periods of time. Back in high school and college, I could stay in one place for a long time, which allowed me to study, get my assignments done and read long books in one sitting. But for the past 20 years or so I’ve had back problems. I can’t sit on hard surfaces at all, and even when there’s a cushioned seat my back aches after sitting in one place for more than a few minutes. So getting anything done that requires sitting and concentrating takes much, much longer than it used to. I normally compensate for that by having several different things going at the same time and rotate among them during the day. While I’m writing this post in my “office,” there are two sewing projects on the kitchen table ready to be cut out, bills to pay on the kitchen counter, and laundry to fold on the sofa. I’ve also got partially finished quilts on the ironing board ready to iron, music to practice in the living room, books to read and review – well, you get the idea. My house looks like a war zone, but that’s my way of coping with my aching back. At least, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
Unfortunately, most of my family doesn’t see things my way. And I have to agree that my jumbled way of coping leaves a lot to be desired. So, in answer to my original question, the ONE THING I would choose to be able to do again is to have the capacity to stay put long enough to start and complete a project.
Is there anything you used to do that you wish you could do again?