Slow Moving Elderly People… I’m One Now…
I’ve always been a fast walker. When I wanted to get somewhere and it involved walking, I wanted to be there “now”. I enjoyed walking fast, enjoyed catching up to and passing people when I could. I’d get irritated if people slowed me down by taking up space I wanted to be in, not paying attention to staying where they should, or suddenly stopping without any regard for people behind them.
Even now, with all the walking I do, I like being a fast walker. Only, it turns out I’m not all that fast anymore. I think I am when I’m walking at the lake for exercise, even walking in the mall.
But I’m not. I regularly get passed by all sorts of people these days. Some of them look like they’re not even trying. I don’t mind it so much when I’m doing a long walk and I’m on my way back towards the car because by that time I know I’ve been walking at least 40 minutes already. However, when it’s within the first 20 minutes… man, that’s depressing.
At the mall… I have little kids passing me, and that never happened before. The 20-somethings… well, I don’t like it but I can deal with it. But children? Sigh…
Strangely enough, this look at age and walking wasn’t something that I initially started thinking about because of people passing me. Instead, it originated by my visiting my mother and taking her to the stores when I go there.
Mom has had an interesting physical history. The entire time I was growing up Mom was a large lady; short but heavy. When my dad got sick and started having problems eating Mom stopped eating. When he passed away she and I both stopped eating for a while, but she stopped eating for far longer than I did.
Once she started eating again she ate a lot less than she previously did. She’s lost more than half her previous weight; she also lost a lot of her strength. She got a handicapped sticker to put on her car because her legs started to hurt and she couldn’t move all that well.
At some point my grandmother moved back in with her, but then she fell, had surgery and never fully recovered from it. Suddenly, Mom was all alone in her house, since we live in different cities. At that point, Mom almost never went anywhere. One day while visiting and seeing how hard it was for her to walk I actually put her on a walking regimen because I said that if she couldn’t walk I was going to have the doctor recommend that she never drive again; I didn’t want to have that worry.
Mom started following what I recommended to her. Frankly I was shocked because, like most mothers, she’d never listened to anything else I had ever said to her. It was a pretty easy regimen that, lucky for me, she was not only able to do but increased on her own as time went on. She’s regained strength enough to get around okay now; whew!
However, she’s still a very slow walker. This means that when I’m with her I’m a very slow walker. Because of this, I’ve noticed that there are a heck of a lot of slow walkers, mainly older people.
I notice this when I’m at the stores with her, because during the day there are a lot of older people shopping at the grocery store because everyone else is at work. There are also a lot of, I assume, sons and daughters walking the same steps I am with our parents. We’re all moving slow, getting in the way of fast walking people like my former self, but seeing things that, frankly, we never would have noticed had we been walking fast.
For instance, even when I’m home, I love going to Wegmans and walking around at a much slower pace than in my past, going up and down aisles I’d have never thought about perusing in the past, just to see what’s there. Not only that, but I end up getting a lot of steps in, which my Fitbit calculates for me. Not every time of course, because sometimes I just need one thing and then I’m out, but way more often than in the past.
What this means is that I’ve crossed over to the other side. Now I’m of the opinion that sometimes life is moving way too fast and that I need to find ways of slowing it down. Gravity seems to be helping in that regard unfortunately, but it might not be a totally bad thing.
Even though I’m not doing it, I understand how some people can decide to just “hang” and do things like watch TV all day, seemingly doing nothing but vegging out. Instead, I realize it’s a way of not only decompressing but slowing down life, bringing it to a speed that offers comfort.
I’m not going to give up trying to keep my pace up during my walks at the lake. I’m not going to slow down intentionally on any of the other things I like or need to do either. However, I will accept when things are feeling like they’re going along slower than in the past. I will accept that people slow down as they age, or get heavier, or start having way too many things on their mind.
I accept it; I don’t necessarily have to like it all though. 🙂