The Strength to Own Increasing Fragility

Accepting and learning to deal with changes of aging so as to remain as vital and as healthy as possible

Photo by alpay tonga on Unsplash

I become more aware these days of changes in my body that come with aging. 

I recently had an experience, while traveling, of injuring a finger. I hardly would have paid attention to what seemed like such a minor injury in my younger days, and did not initially pay attention to this one at the time. Until my body let me know that I needed to pay attention. Until the doctor that I saw talked to me about the fragility of our fingertips. Until this doctor, whose first question was how old I was, let me know that it was good that I had contacted him, as I had a severe infection that would have continued to spread had I not addressed it. He lanced it and prescribed two antiobiotics. For an injury that I can’t even remember the details about as to how it happened. 

I have been used to taking my body and its healing powers for granted. Minor injuries not even noted as I continued along with my day or activity.

Not so much anymore, I am learning.

My skin is thinner, more prone to injuries and deep bruises. 

The other morning I began to hop out of bed, only to find that the room began spinning around and I had to lie back down until it stopped, about 30 seconds later or so. What was this, I wondered. 

Staying well hydrated has never been one of my strengths. And my body has been fairly forgiving of me, as far as I know, up until now. It turns out being dehydrated and getting up quickly can cause some dizziness (orthostatic hypotension). I am lucky to have a friend who is a nurse.

Another lesson in paying closer attention to self care these days.

Balance can be an issue these days. I seem to be able to trip more easily (I remember removing all the small rugs in my mother’s home as she began to fall more). I need to slow down, pay more attention. 

I am learning that I need to pay closer attention to each activity, each movement, each bump and bruise. Things that I am used to never giving a second thought to. Healing powers of youth that I took for granted are no longer with me. 

I have lost some hearing, more in my left ear than in my right. I now wear a hearing aid in my left ear. And, even with that, I find that I can struggle in rooms with certain acoustics and distracting sounds. I need to speak up about this, to ask for any modifications that might be made. Asking if the speaker at an event can possibly use a microphone. I see others of my age nodding their heads in silent agreement to my request. 

Not only do I need to acknowledge the changes occurring, I find that I now need to get better at speaking up about needs that I may not have had before. This has not always been a strength of mine. Time to practice this one more. 

My body gets stiffer and less flexible these days, and realize that not only do I need to keep exercising, but I also need to work on flexibility and stretching. Something else that I have taken for granted. 

And if I name and own these new changes, I can better prepare and deal with them, possibly avoiding further injury or damage. It’s harder to heal what you cannot name. 

In addition to the physical changes, there is the increase in my emotional sensitivity. I have always been a sensitive person. Something that I have been criticized for in my life that I now realize is one of my strengths. One of the gifts that I can give to others. One of the gifts that helps me connect with the earth around me as well as all of its creatures.

And, as I am lucky enough to still be alive and aging, I notice that my sensitivity is also growing. More sensitive to pain around me. More sensitive to the suffering and violence of the world. More sensitive to nuances in others (human and other) that tell of pain or suffering that I may not have noticed before. More awareness of my own grief at increasing losses that come along with aging. More awareness of the ever increasing companionship of grief. More awareness of mortality. Death. Endings. 

This increased sensitivity can be challenging. It can also be a gift. A gift that helps me appreciate, on a much deeper level, all that is around and within me. Appreciate each moment of life. 

I can deny all these changes, and risk serious injury. Or I can, reluctantly I admit, own them. Own them and learn to deal with them and make changes to adapt to them. So that I can keep living my fullest, healthiest life while I am still blessed enough to be alive. 

How I live my life daily may need to change, in order that I can keep embracing what life that I can. Doing all that I can, with perhaps new limitations and conditions. And with a new speed. Slow. 

Slow down. Pay attention. To myself. To my environment. To others around me. To my life these days as it presents itself. To the changes in me. And to the life that is still mine to live, perhaps more slowly. With more awareness and gratitude. Gently, tenderly, slowly. One step and one breath at a time. 

6 thoughts on “The Strength to Own Increasing Fragility

  1. Your posts are so wonderful. They are a treat to read. Each one takes me on a journey inside that brings me presence, self love, and centers me in awe of this life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post.
    I am guilty of ignoring the bruises that come out of nowhere.
    My only concession to old age is, never sit down on the floor.
    I can’t get up again.
    Oh yes, opening jars is now a thing of the past!


    1. I understand about the jars! And my neighbor and I talk about doing “floor recovery practice!” We actually get down on the floor and practice different ways to get up…. Especially since we both live alone. Thanks so much for your response!


  3. I shared your post, for it rings true. The wise of us will start to notice our physical bodies in a different more fragile way as we go along (hopefully not the hard way with a bad back from working too long in the garden for our age).
    Better to look after ourselves, take a little bit more time in self care to avoid damages.
    If we don’t, then we might suffer for that ignorance of the basic facts of life that:
    1) Bodies age over time, and will need more looking after, better it be us than others who might not be as up to the task or not as patient and kind as they could be.
    2) Our minds age over time and also needs looking after, peace of mind is a practice, not a goal.
    3) Over time we won’t look the way we did and it’s wisdom to embrace that look, for if you haven’t been a dick or a bitch, you will find other people around you love that ol’ face you see in the mirror.

    Liked by 1 person

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