The word “wellbeing” wasn’t in use when my son’s “Concise Oxford Dictionary” was published! It’s commonly used these days and it is aptly descriptive and understood and neatly encapsulates the wholeness of our mind and body.
Recently I visited a friend in a Rehabilitation centre and unexpectedly discovered another friend there, both recovering from falls. As I was leaving, yet another surprise as I spotted a neighbour there, rehabilitating from a serious heart problem. Finding three people I knew esconced there, two as a result of falls, was a stark reminder of our fragility as we enter our eldermost years.
Perhaps we (me, anyway) don’t always recognise or admit the increased brittleness of our bones as we age – until it’s forced upon us with examples like that! Especially since then, I can see the necessity for my walking stick, my ‘friend at hand’, on my daily walks. Now, after seeing my friends with plaster casts and having to suffer the stress of lengthy and exhausting recovery exercises, it has amply reinforced the need for my trusty stick! Bone and muscle take a very long time to repair and recover when we have a few years under our belt….
That word ‘vulnerable’ describes us and all our resources, bodily and otherwise, as we age. In a flash, ready or not, our lives can change. Our hearts can ‘break’, too, not just our limbs – moving safely is only one aspect of our vulnerability. Recently we were reminded that our personal details, even our financial resources, could be at risk on the internet. And then there’s inflation which tends to erode and steal our capital savings anyway. Yes, we’re vulnerable in lots of ways.
I am always aware of how many people and families are affected by Alzheimer’s and how it robs us: it takes away those precious remembrances which otherwise could enrich our later years. Those vast storehouses of memories that most of us can recall at will, are valuable beyond words. And when that option fails, as it did with my wife, who has now passed away, I console myself with the thought that now, today, is the day that counts – tomorrow can wait till I’m ready!
I know that unless I take firm, positive, creative steps – including writing these epistles to myself – I will fall, metaphorically, into a state of mind where nothing seems quite right anymore. When that happens, and sometimes it does, it saps my energy and my worth, and it’s only by the grace of God that I find the way out and up again. That way also includes walking, listening to music, reading a book, watching an interesting TV show, visiting someone, writing these notes and oh, yes, making a cuppa tea, whilst plottting for my next adventure. I did start writing about wellbeing, didn’t I?
P.S. Sweet sherry in tiny doses is also good.