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?
PS. Thanks for reading my musings. It delights me to hear from you. Feel free to backlink to your own website. I’m still monitoring comments, so you won’t see your comment until I can get to it to approve it.
Oh well Francisca !….As I opened my IPad, I was just thinking that my brain was becoming a bit slow… less active and more forgetful!…. Good to read you !…
« Mumbles…Stumbles…Rumbles » sometimes my head is full of these mumbles, full of sounds…
And I just know that I need a good laugh, because I sometimes take myself too seriously, yes I am forgetful, distracted, busy thinking of two, three things at the same time !….
The « stumbles » episode happened to me recently on the sidewalk: I fell, and very much like you, I remained still, very consciously « checking » every part of my body….. Then a car stopped and a young man came out and gently helped me to stand up ! Fortunately nothing but minor scratches on both knees. I returned to examine the pavement…. but found nothing to blame for my fall. Just lost my balance I guess.
The « rumbles » of the storm: Last week, during a late summer violent thunder storm, I put off all the lights in the house and sat in front of the glass door, facing my garden and the mountains ( I live in Switzerland, near the Jura). The lightning’s were so frequent and the thunder became just one long sound…. It was spectacular
There was beauty in the violence of nature.
Thinking of you Francisca
It warms my heart when people say my stories are relatable, Mireille. Of course, not happy to hear about your fall! Talk soon. 🌸💜🌸
I am finding the older I get, the more mindful, slow, and intentional I must be. Very large, dark, colourful, aching bruises on my legs from a bike fall (handlebars hit a tree) are finally fading…along with my bruised ego!!!
Love you, Cisca!
I love this line and the way you describe this period of time: “mumble, stumble, and rumble, life has a way of keeping us humble. And I’ll be fine. This too shall pass.” As I walked yesterday my mind drifted into the future and what the world may look like in 100 or 150 years. 25 years ago, to me, that stretch of years/decades would have seemed like a very long time – and I now can see how short it is. Same with the weeks and years of the pandemic and our ‘recovery’…a bumpy road that feels like no time at all and yet like all we know! It is usually a reconnection or creation of community (those old September school years with a new class) that seems to get mojo flowing…and I still feel a disconnection but little longing for it or need to prepare for it (even with September so close!). I am truly enjoying the rise and fall of peace that is in that generally consistent lack of longing!
I’m so glad your healing was quick from your fall and none of your worst fears came through! Onward we go through the rumble of life…
Goodness Francesca your fall sounds so much like mine and it is the third I’ve heard of in the last five days. I send love and sympathy.
Thank you, Wendy, and right back to you! 🌸💜🌸
Sad to hear about your mumbles, stumbles and rumbles.
In a less poetic way I would say… sh*t happens.
I don’t think you should be overly concerned. Those are just the bumps along the way.
Falls are dangerous as we age. So I believe it is important to keep a bit of our muscle mass, and flexibility (and learn how to fall). This might our best insurance against debilitating injuries.
As of the blues, you might want to shake up your life a bit. Even if you are completely happy with it. As we age we tend to have the same well organized and predicable life. Trying something completely different can work wonders. Learn how to cook, dance, swim, magic, tennis, get a dog, whatever! Shake it up a bit.
Not only good against the blues but also good for body and mind.
September and the -ber months are around the corner. I hope they will bring you fun !
Absolutely this post was about “sh*t happens”–a stoic philosophy I subscribe to, including that while we have no choice over what happens, we do have a choice in how we respond. But that alone wouldn’t be much of interest to write about, would it, Sidney? It’s the writing that keeps my mental juices flowing. I can count on you to point the light on the most pessimistic possibilities, and yes, I know how to fall; I used to teach that when I taught self-defense, many decades ago. It doesn’t work when the anticipated slo-mo fall happens in a millisecond. And yes, the blues aren’t serious, just lo-batt, but it would benefit me not only to exercise my real muscles, which I do, but also my passion muscle and adventure muscle. Time to arrange a visit to Luna Farm, right? 🌸🙏🌸
Love the creative title – Mumble, Stumble, Rumble, and finally, Humble. Yes, life offers us bumps. Keeps us human. (smiley face here).
Love you Francisca. Hugs!
Love you back, Rosa! 🌸💜🌸