Walking Worries

Wednesday's walk

I have never been an athletic person. I have little interest in sports and I have always considered my self quite clumsy. That's my inner critic (the one that says I'm not artistic or musical either) speaking so it might just be that I have never developed those aptitudes. Fifty years ago, when I went to school,
children were labelled and some of those labels stuck (in our own minds). Despite my lack of athletic prowess, I have always been a walking person.

Whether it be window-shopping in Paris or visiting with friends at home, you will find me on my feet. I don't enjoy driving and I consider walk scores whenever I rent vacation accommodation. 
Recently, I have been experiencing some swelling and discomfort in one of my knees. Last week, I had an x-ray and Monday I see the doctor.  I'm starting to worry...

I walked home from school past frozen ditches.

What if I could not walk? My blood pressure might increase...I would gain weight...I would not be able to enjoy ambulatory visits with friends, flâner in Paris or navigate the cobble streets of Mexico.
Wait a minute! My mind is taking me on another kind of a journey. Obviously, my body is ageing.
I have been healthy and resilient throughout my life. I am working with young children a few days a week so I'm still energetic and mentally alert.

I walked on the coast of Cornwall.

Ageing is frightening because we can not always control our bodies. Reason tells me that likely if I lost a bit of weight, practised strengthening exercises and used walking poles, I will be able to continue walking for a long time. If the doctor says that I need to replace the knee, I am young enough that the surgery is relatively simple. My worries are not really about my knee but about
facing some physical deterioration.

I walked the last part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella.
At 67, I do not have the body of a 27-year old. The parts wear out from disuse, overuse and abuse.
In spite of our best intentions, every one of our physical activities is finite. My worries will do nothing to change this reality. In our younger years, physical resilience is a strength but I wonder if it is emotional and spiritual resilience that are most important as we age.

Understanding and acceptance of the ageing body and the spiritual belief that all things are as they are meant to be may be the most important resources for the latter years of life. I'm still learning.

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.”

Madeleine L'Engle


  1. It's apparent that you're thinking through the aging process and coming to terms with it. I know that, at 62, I'm not as energetic as I was at 32, but I am stronger mentally and spiritually. I aim to walk 10000 steps each day and do a strength/cardio workout 2-3 times each week. I hope your knee problem will be soon resolved and you'll be back to being a "promeneuse".

    1. I find that mentally and spiritually I have grown over the last few years as well, Lorrie. I've been missing strength training for a while but it's really important at this age.

  2. What a thoughtful post. I am so aware of changes in my body but grateful to have got through to my middle sixties with no life limiting disease. I have had both my knees replaced and now able to walk as far as I want without pain. It was very depressing when every step hurt so much. Being older means we have the experience and therefore the strength to cope in many situations. Funny how I don’t feel old inside!

    1. I'm glad to hear about your walking success! It is a blessing to have no life limiting disease and to feel enthusiastic and positive.

  3. I hope the doctor will be able to reassure you that whatever is happening is manageable. I did love the last paragraph here for your optimistic approach to this stage. Perhaps this is easier for women. My husband gets frustrated that he can't do what he used to and I have to fight that frustration too. A freak fall last February meant a bad knee for 10 months but it is better now, when oddly enough now the other knee is acting up. It certainly is the not being able to be as active as I was before last February that frustrates me. I keep thinking, if only.....but that won't help matters at all. Your walks are so important to you that I believe you will find a way to keep going with them a long time.

    1. Thanks, Dewena. Falls can really limit mobility. It's so important to have a positive attitude. My 57-year old brother was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few months ago.
      He's doing yoga and walking as much as he is able. Spiritual resilience is so important in the face of physical adversity.

  4. I will have my fingers crossed for you tomorrow -- but no matter what the doctor tells you, it's obvious you have the wisdom and fortitude and resilience to adjust and adapt and continue getting the most out of life. xo


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