Saturday, September 19, 2015

"Things that Make You Go Hmmm"

Things that Make You Go Hmmm

This song from the early 1990s by C+C Music Factory came to mind this week. I had a couple of experiences that were sort of like someone had been pulling the wool over my eyes for a long time. Now they were showing me exactly how things in my life are or could be. I’m not so sure I like all of this clarity.

In the song, the singer has several experiences that make him question the results of some action. For example, he tells in one verse how he let his best friend move in with him. The singer’s wife becomes pregnant and when the baby is born, it looks a lot like the best friend. That’s what makes him go hmmm

My hmmm experiences weren’t as racy as the singer's were.

This week, I accompanied someone to physical therapy. I’m not talking about the physical therapy most people think of when they hear the words. There were no sharp-looking athletes with torn rotator cuffs, no tennis stars with tennis elbow, no soccer players with a torn meniscus. No, 80% of the people in this rehab facility were senior citizens. Many were attached to wheelchairs, walkers or canes. Most had helpers with them to help them even get to and from the rehab center.

I sat there all smug, thinking that I won’t be one of those people. After all, I was somewhat young and pretty active, but was that enough?  The therapist said that as most people get older, they tend to make their movements smaller because they are worried about falling or hurting themselves. Those smaller movements are actually more dangerous because our bodies are designed to walk at a certain gait and to reach and stretch in all different directions.

I thought about my actions lately. I do stop and consider the results of standing on a ladder or chair or of moving too quickly in the wrong direction. I always thought that I was being careful because I have so many people depending on me; I can’t afford to be sick or hurt. However, maybe my actions are because I’m actually older and more aware of my aches and pains.

My second hmmm event happened when I went to my bridge class. Yes, my bridge class. Before I retired, I said I was going to learn to play bridge because that’s something that retired people do. Playing it is supposed to keep the mind sharp. It must work because I know a lot of older bridge players and can count on one hand the number of younger people I know who play.

During the class, I looked at all of the people sitting around me, some of whom had about 20+ years on me. I thought, “Do I look like that?” “Am I really old?”

For the past 35 years, I have been around teenagers all day. Their antics kept me knowledgeable about trending events, about new music or about just popular culture in general. Now I’m around people on the opposite end of the age spectrum. They talk about what’s happening in the news, the prices of gas and groceries, doctor visits and their aches and pains.

I’m adjusting to lots of life changes now. Without work, I have time to notice others and listen to them more. I have the extra time to think about and act on my hmmm moments. I came home from physical therapy and turned on a yoga program on TV and even did a couple of sun salutations and forward bends. It felt good just doing that much. Tomorrow I’ll add a few more moves. In a month or two, I’ll be posting pictures of me standing on my head.

This week, I realized that I’ve got to get my body moving and stretching while also strengthening my mind. Somehow, I rather quickly became one of the older folks.

(Note: Here's a link to the song's video if you are interested:  C+C Music Factory)