After much reviewing of the facts, I have been forced to reach the conclusion that I may not be the graceful, smooth-walking woman I thought I was. Recently I was strolling with a friend on the sidewalk. I was in mid-sentence and suddenly I just went down. I didn’t get hurt and there didn’t seem to be any depression in the sidewalk that could have caused it. I wasn’t drunk, either — well, no more than usual. Yet, I fell full-on down like a cartoon character in an open manhole cover. But I’m also a cool cat, so I shook it off and we continued on our way. It wasn’t until later when I was on the train, feeling lightly smug that I had recovered so gracefully, that I notice the prominent trickle of bright red blood running from my knee down my leg. yeah, real cool there, girlie.
A few days later I was attempting to get out of a rowboat onto a dock. I grew up doing this. It was not my first time in a boat by a dock. Yet, as I got half way out, I fell back into the boat. The padding of the life-preserver jacket cushioned me so I didn’t get hurt at all. And I made it out on the second try. I do apologize to middle-aged women everywhere — lord knows what conclusions were reached about us by the 20-something trying to help me. But the worse thing was that I knew as I was stepping out of the boat, that it was ill-fated. But did I stop to reposition myself? No, I just kept going and fell back into the boat like a dork.
This summer I stepped out of the canoe into mucky mud that went near nearly up to my knee. Yes, the river was lower than usual because of the lack of rain and that exposed more mud as a result. But who expects it to be 3 feet deep? Apparently my friend who was with me because he asked, “Didn’t you think to test it first?” No, why would I do that? How can mud be 3 feet deep? As I was stuck, one foot held fast in the mud and the other still in the boat, it flashed in my brain that it might be a kind of quicksand, and I was going to get sucked in and killed, Hollywood-style. Of course I just Googled that, and it’s not true. You actually only sink about halfway, just enough to look non-life-threateningly ridiculous. I struggled for a few minutes and managed to lift out my foot, but I had to stick my hand in the muck to fish out my sandals. Nothing says graceful like being covered in mucky mud.
It feels like these incidents just started, so I was all ready to heave this annoyance on to the perimenopause-hormones blame heap. However, I have to grudgingly admit that this is not my first time at the klutzy rodeo. There was the infamous college incident when I walked into a pole — OK, there may have been some alcohol involved, but my friends will tell you that’s no excuse. I’ve clocked guys’ teeth going in for a kiss. I fell out of a canoe that was pulled up near the edge of the river and not moving, and I still can’t explain why. I fell off my bike, once. I think it was caused more by my indecision on how to avoid a collision, but I think that still qualifies. Smooth-moving people know what to do in a near-collision. Finally, if you gather my friends from high school, they could probably regale you with additional examples, which have blessedly fallen out of my memory. At least that I can thank/blame on middle-age.
The thing is over the last 5 years or so, I’ve worked hard to be a mindful, meditative person. And when it comes to my emotions and dealing with most of my relationships, I think I am fairly successful at it. But I have to admit, the mindfulness has not extended to my physical body. This is kind of a blow to my ego — you know, the little bit of ego left after all my awesome mindfulness and meditation. I do yoga, for crying out loud! But I have to admit I think I’m only mindful in yoga class or when I’m standing absolutely still, which is only a small portion of any given day that I’m on this planet. Once I actually start moving, I’m tripping randomly, falling out of boats, walking into poles. I can’t predict what’s going to happen to me next, so this is just a friendly warning. When I next see you, you can probably tell me just about anything and I will verbally respond mindfully, but you might want to make sure I’m sitting and stay back a few feet.