This past week, I met mumbles, stumbles, and rumbles to disrupt my otherwise peaceful life. I reflect on what these minor events and my low energy may mean to me.
The first event that had me scratching my head is similar to something most people can relate to: walking into the kitchen and forgetting why you went there. I’ve done that plenty of times, and not only during the pandemic years. You?
In my case, over two days, each time I entered the kitchen, it reminded me that I needed to order flax seed. I use that in both my daily breakfast oatmeal and the Dutch pancakes I make on Sundays, and we had run out. Each time, I silently mumbled to my brain to order it online first thing when I return to my PC in our home office.
Four times I forgot. How can I forget four times? Grrr…
The fifth time I was in the kitchen and remembered, I got annoyed with myself—oh FFS (for f*cks sake). The mumble turned into an internal scream. And that stimulated the short-term memory cells to stay active long enough to get the job done.
Care for yourself enough to listen carefully to what you say to yourself.Willis Regier
Certainly I’d heard the idiom—“fall flat on your face”—that roughly means to fail in something in an embarrassing way.
But I never imagined I’d experience falling flat on my face for real.
Yet that’s what happened to me on one of our regular half-hour evening walks last week. We were in the last stretch, half a block from our home, moving along at a good clip.
I felt the toes in my soft Sketcher shoe hit something. A millisecond later, my teeth met the pavement; I heard the palpable bonk in my brain. The time had been too brief to think anything smart, like bending my knees for a shorter fall.
My immediate reaction was not to move, and I became conscious of my breathing. As I lay on the street, it astonished me how calm I was feeling. Then I mentally explored my body.
I started with my front teeth, because the hit they took was the only thing that had elicited a fleeting fear. I used my tongue to gently sense them and I was relieved to find them still solidly embedded in my gums. When my tongue moved to my fast-ballooning upper lip and tasted the blood from the open gash, I assessed the damage was minor.
Continuing my mental body scan while still not moving, I found no major pains. My honey asked if I was alright and I asked him to wait a few more seconds. I now wonder what compelled me to remain to lay still and breathe before standing up.
This stumble and scan probably took less time than a minute. It felt a lot longer.
After I got up, I found a few more open grazes—a small one on my chin and nastier cuts on the lower fleshy end of the palms of my hands, but surprisingly, none on my knees. Seeing my hands raised my concern that the weight of the fall could/would reactivate and progress the Dupuytren Disease I have in my hands. But for that, I have to wait and see.
Sometimes we stumble and fall, it doesn’t mean we are failures, it simply means we are moving forward.Gift Gugu Mona
It’s the rainy season in the Philippines, where we live. We’re used to having days upon days of stormy weather, hearing the soft, sometimes hard, pitter-patter of rain on our roof and the distant rumbles of thunder. The sound often sooths, a gentle background clatter.
But now and then, the sky opens up abruptly (what feels like) right over my head. The first rumble is an earsplitting crackle that makes my heart skip a beat.
When I’m concentrating on work, it never fails to jolt me out of my place of flow. The thunder then captivates my attention for as many minutes as the loud clapping continues.
Many a day during this wet season, my honey and I get all dressed up in our walking gear, only to have the downpour start the moment we leave the house or when we’re halfway up the street.
The weather is nature’s disruptor of human plans and busybodies. Of all the things on earth, nature’s disruption is what we know we can depend on, as it is essentially uncontrolled by men.Criss Jami
🌸 🌸 🌸
The lingering question I have after all this is, what is happening to my brain and body?
A few casual musings
Are these mumbles the first signs of some kind of dementia? I’m only 67 and I keep mentally active, so I sure hope not. Looking back a couple of generations in my biological family, cognitive decline touched only one of my grandmothers, and only in her last years, in her 80s.
Or is this just more of the pandemic lethargy that has afflicted so many who have stayed mostly at home, largely isolated for now nearly two-and-a-half years? Speaking with close friends around the world (thanks to zoom) this past week, it was validating (but not comforting) to hear them tell me they too lack having a roaring fire in their belly. This general lethargy may have negatively affected our ability to focus or feel motivated. Maybe we need to make an extra effort to revitalize our passion muscles (yes, I know, I made up that term).
Or maybe my lower-than-usual energy or mindful attention is a bit of long-covid (I’ve already tested negative). I no longer have any of the harsher symptoms I complained about earlier; however, my ongoing urge to cough up phlegm made me suspect I might have had a minor case of pneumonia, a suspicion that was advanced when I found tiny spots of blood in the phlegm I spit out. Fatigue is a known symptom of pneumonia.
Or maybe my body is still feeling the dregs of my anti-cancer program. I’d like to think not—after all, the treatment program ended almost four months ago. And yet my nose still runs and my fingers and feet still tingle. So who knows what else is being affected?
Or maybe this rudderless feeling is just gray weather blues… what in the northern hemisphere is called the February blues, which some people feel after a long, cold, dark winter.
(In seeking causes, I’ve ruled out poor nutrition, dehydration, or lack of sleep or exercise. I think I’ve got the basics covered.)
So, mumble, stumble, and rumble, life has a way of keeping us humble. And I’ll be fine. This too shall pass.
Stay humble, trust your instincts. Most importantly, act. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.Yogi Berra
And whether or not my mind and body are waning, it won’t dissuade me from ageing gracefully, from continuing to find meaning in service, beauty in my surroundings, and a belly laugh every day.
What big or little life tests keep you humble?
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