Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slowing Down

I'm slowing down as things are speeding up. I think it's self-preservation.

Traveling at 50 mph in a 45 mph zone this morning, The Schnozz and I were buffeted by the windstorm created as the young man with open windows, a cigarette, and jacked-up-shock-absorbers blew past us. His radio made only a scar on the soundwaves as he sped by, followed by 3 or 4 other people who just had to get to the next red light more quickly than I did.

I used to be one of those people. If an open space appeared in the other lane, I grabbed it. Lately, I seem to have lost the urge to rush. I'm wondering why.

Recovering, lying on Douglas, watching the sun cross the horizon, may have had something to do with slowing my internal clock. The passage of time was marked by the ingestion of pills. I undertook no activities beyond writing Thank You notes. There was no reason to hurry through anything, I really had nothing to do but heal, and there was no timetable for that.

Feeling safe may also play a part. Saturday, in the gym with my trainer, I was faced with a platform raised to 8” by supporting blocks. My task was to step up and then down, first on one side and then by crossing over to the other. The fit, 40-something woman to my right was high-stepping more quickly than I could count the taps of her feet on the steps. I sighed.

There was a time when I, too, had fast feet. Not so much anymore. My psyche hasn't figured out that my body has changed. Looking at the step-ups before me, my feet were leaden on the gym floor. My brain was racing, though. Lifting my right leg up first, hopeful but not convinced that it would support me as I pulled the left one up to meet it, I was conscious of every muscle, every fibre, every tendon and ligament. Tightening my abdominals, engaging my spinae erectus, squeezing glutes and hamstrings and quadriceps..... no wonder it was taking me so long to step up. There was a lot to consider.

Plus, I really really didn't want to fall. Eight inches or eight feet, it's all the same to me

The fact that I was taking the time to consider my actions is a major change for me. Looking before I leapt was never my strong suit. “Mom, watch out!” was a frequent part of family outings. Preparing by thinking before I move is new to me. I'm not sure that the hesitation was a conscious choice; my body really didn't intuit the motions necessary to put my right foot up first. I had to think about it.

And, in thinking about it I'm coming closer to loving myself. I notice that I can get down on the ground without taking 5 minutes to figure out what to do with my legs. I kneel and I don't know how I got there. I recognize that my abdominals are holding my torso up and out of my hip joint and I am grateful to them for their strength and willingness to engage in the work. I just can't figure out how they knew what to do, when. I'm certain my conscious brain never ssent them the message.

I hear my hip crunching and groaning as it moves up and back and out and down, and I marvel at the fact that I'm pulling a 20 pound weight. The speedy woman to my right may have 40 pounds attached to the leg cuff, but I don't mind very much. I am moving through the range of motion my tightness allows, slowly, steadily, carefully. I am thinking about what I am doing, actively engaging musculature in a slow, precise, steady way.

Who am I?

There was a long line at the grocery store and I didn't want to scream. The elderly couple walking in front of me at Wally-World moved over to the side to let me pass, and I declined their kind offer. I was in no particular hurry. What would I do with the time I'd save? I never had those thoughts before. I I was always first in line, in the shortest line, racing to ….....

Those destinations are still out there, I'm sure. I'm just not that anxious to get there these days.

Is it approaching 60? Is it a neurasthetic reaction to GRIN and wedding planning and blogging and getting ready for Tucson's 6 week planting season? Am I slowing down to accommodate my healing? I've looked and looked inside myself for answers, and they are not forthcoming.

Then, I looked at my desk... and there, perhaps, lay the answer: the two tickets which landed in my mailbox – one for racing through a not-really-red-yet-officer light and one for zipping past the speed trap I know-about-but-always-forget?

My guess is that the traffic camera punishments are bleeding over into the rest of my being. There's nothing like a hefty fine to get my attention, it seems.


  1. I think it's good to slow down once in a while. I often don't do it and wish I had. Although on Friday, I took the day off and it was wonderful to have the whole house to myself and I did absolutely nothing. I did sleep a lot and just relaxed.

    As I'm getting older, I've come to realize that it doesn't really pay off to rush. I don't need to be one car ahead of everyone else. It's just not worth it anymore. So take your time and enjoy the slower pace.

    Happy Tuesday!

    Megan xxx

  2. Was watching something non-fictiony on PBS last night, which mentioned in passing that Toulouse-Lautrec was fascinated by can-can dancers (big surprise, right?)... because they moved their legs with such dexterity (huh?!?). Of course, T-L's admiration grew (or -- haha -- didn't) out of a congenital condition, not one suddenly imposed on him at near-60. But it occurs to me that you might consider taking up lithography. Lemons, lemonade, all that. :)


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