all out there who are getting older,
every once in a while the fact that each one of us is getting older hits us in the face.
well, here i am in Sicily and such an event happened to me today.
now, to set the context, yours truly, the author is a very healthy active alive human being. yes, i have a few years on me, but i tell everyone when they ask my age that i am 42 because that is how i feel.
just completed my annual physical, and could not be healthier. active in hiking, swimming, dancing, golf, pickleball, and cycling on an almost daily basis. just as important, my mind is engaged actively every day.
it is true that i have a few minor issues. my blood pressure is higher than it should be but so does the majority of individuals in my age bracket. and yes, i could stand to lose a few pounds. and, yes, i am having a little pain right now from a pinched nerve as a result of a bone spur that grew over the years. nothing serious. small stuff.
and yet, “this age thing” is starting to rear its ugly head. where i am seeing it is in my balance, my ability to walk without stumbling.
i find that i have to consciously remember to pick up my feet as i walk. not to shuffle. i find that i sometimes have to make sure that both feet are planted so that i don’t sway or lean to one side more than i want to. i find that i have to really pay attention to the sidewalk or the floor or the height of each stair so that i recognize and react to a slight change in height or slant or angle.
i used to walk and climb stairs without even looking down. now, i very much am looking down to make sure that i see every little possible change in the ground, floor or stair.
i am assuming that this all comes with aging. damn!!
what does the word “denial” mean? well, i have to admit that i have been trying to operate in denial of aging having any impact on me. or at least not very much.
but, every once in awhile something happens that puts aging right in your face, literally. and today was no exception.
today in Palermo in mid afternoon i walk to the nearest Carrefour Supermarket because i want to pick up some breakfast items for my kids and also some diapers and handwipes for Henry, my grandson. i’m in the store and finding most of what i need. i am translating 19 pounds into kilograms (8.6 if you are interested) so that i can get the right size diapers. i gather my yogarts, my grapefruit juice, my healthy cereal, some berries, and i have two oranges, two apples and 5 bananas.
at the check out stand, i am told in Italian that i need to go back to the fresh fruit and vegetable section and weigh the oranges, apples and bananas and come back. the next person in line is a young, 25 year old girl who takes pity on me apparently, because she goes with me to the fruit section to help me. she shows me how to identify the number on the oranges’ slat that you then need to enter into the scale that weighs the two oranges, which then in turn produces a piece of paper that attaches to the oranges giving their weight, unit cost and their total cost. with her help i do this for the oranges, and then the apples and then the bananas. whereupon i pick them all up and cradle them in my arms and proceed to walk back with her the the check out counter.
at this point, the line has grown to 10 people waiting to check out. so i am hustling a little bit. not running but clearly i am a man on a mission to get my fruits back to the check out line as soon as i can.
as i am doing so, i don’t see the girl who has been helping me this whole time walk slightly in front of me. the next thing i know, i am on the floor of the supermarket with oranges and apples and bananas flying everywhere.
what happened is that as i moved my right foot forward in taking a step my foot hit the back of her shoe and as a result i stumbled and fell face first on the floor. luckily i was able to brace my fall with my arms so my face and head did not hit the floor, just my body.
next thing i know i have 10 people standing around me offering to help me up. OMG. nothing like keeping a low profile!
and i am fine. no bruises, no sore muscles, no cuts, no blood. nothing.
i am now asking myself why am i sharing this story. it is so embarrassing.
maybe the answer to my own question is that when you travel you become more reflective. maybe. but i don’t really know, maybe you have an answer to this question.