Why do we instigate introspection journeys? They can be scary mind trips to hell. Those of us that tend to pull out a microscope to dissect our every flaw are destined to crack at some point. No, relax, I am not cracking. But when you contemplate you may be nearing the end of your usefulness your vision blurs and your mind quivers. It is not a perpetual state of mind, but it lingers at times longer than ever before.
Being alone, aka living alone, presents euphoria and sadness in one breath. My aloneness goes one step beyond most of the people I know because I was never blessed with children. I have no one in my life who is driven to make sure I am okay. That is such a good thing in so many ways. I doubt that any parent wants to spend the latter years of their lives a burden to their children. At the same time, as my body ages and decides to put me in my place every now and then, being alone is concerning. Let me explain.
This week, I was getting ready to leave the house when my sandal somehow snags in a rug near the front door. As I lost my balance, I am instantly aware I am falling head-first into a corner table. In a flash of an instant, I found enough wits to raise my arms to shelter my head from crashing into a heavy iron shelf and in doing so left my full body weight to fall on my knees. And I hit hard.
My first action was to call myself a bumbling idiot with a few other choice words that are not publication appropriate. Seriously. How does an intelligent being allow for that to happen? My forearm felt like it took a direct hit from a baseball bat and as I sat there on my knees, I felt the shakes radiate from my ankles to the back of my neck. I honestly was not sure I was going to be able to stand. My knees were already mincemeat from a fall in Windsor, England years ago. This was not good. Somehow, I found my footing, grabbed my keys, and went on about my business.
On this occasion, I actually had someone waiting in my driveway to pick me up. That was probably the only reason I decided to go forward with my day regardless of my discomfort. But as night fell, and the bruising flourished, I thought about what would have happened had I not had plans with a friend that day. I most likely would not have even tried to get up and would have probably found myself confined to the floor for a while. What if I had not found the fortitude to shelter my head? Had I hit my chin on that table, I could have been knocked out for who knows how long.
Now, the funny side of this is as I struggled to regain my stance, my only thought was “please don’t let her come to the door because I feel like an idiot.” My kneecaps might be shattered, and my forearm cracked but please let me maintain some semblance of self-respect. In retrospect, while I had no broken bones, being more concerned about the appearance of being okay than actually being okay was inappropriate. Sadly, being alone and independent nurtures that attitude. The only person to care for me is me.
Now, I am not in any way looking for a bodyguard or a senior monitor so please do not go there. Life happens no matter how careful you are. But (there is always a but, huh?), if you have such a friend, alone yet independent, just honor that friendship with attention, more often than not. A simple “You okay?” carries a lot of clout. I am sometimes guilty of being so self-absorbed that I forget I am not alone in this aloneness. I wonder if setting a phone reminder would help me be more thoughtful? Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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