Enough hats, and walking with a cane.

My last twenty or so blog posts have consisted of Polyvore “collages” of hats, which I’ve been having a lot of fun with, but I think it’s time for a blog entry composed of actual words.

So, I have lots of random thoughts flitting through my head all the time, but they tend to desert me when I actually sit down to blog. Modesty, religion, liberalism, growing older, craft projects, the rhythm of the year… All of this stuff has been running around, but I try to stay to one topic at a time.

Like the cane. Black aluminum with shiny butterflies on it (because the pink one with rhinestones was fifty dollars and my sister pointed out that I’d be heartbroken if I left it on the bus) and all mine. Which is kind of a shocker, because I thought I didn’t need one.

I don’t have mobility issues, per se. No bad knee or hip, no weakness. I do have co-ordination issues–my balance has never been great and my ankles are a little wobbly. It’s not new, but I have noticed it becoming a little more pronounced as I’ve grown older. I’ve always dreaded slippery surfaces and while I’m not sure I’m more likely to fall than I was ten or fifteen years ago, I definitely feel it more when I do.

So last year I borrowed a cane from a relative when it was icy, and felt much more secure, if a little silly. I did it again this year, and since it was icier, and the relative in question was less able to spare it, my sister suggested I get my own. So reluctantly, because I’m forty-eight years old and think of myself as healthy, I did.

Then I noticed something as I found myself using it more, because it was my very own and it’s the right length (the borrowed one is a little too long). I’m a lot less tired when I use it.¬†Especially¬†in places where the floors are a little slippery, like supermarkets and big box stores. My sister says I’ve suddenly released my death grip on the shopping cart too, and I’m faster and less cranky.Even after just a couple of weeks, I know my ankles are less wobbly, and the subtle aches I had ascribed to middle age have subsided.

I don’t bother in the house, and I don’t always grab it now that all the snow has melted, but it definitely comes shopping, or on long walks, or if I’m going to be out for an extended period of time. I suppose I could actually go to the doctor (for a bunch of expensive tests that will likely find nothing), but our best guess is that I’ve been unconsciously putting in an unusual amount of effort to walk without slipping, probably for years, without really noticing, and it was wearing me out.

Which brings me to the moral of this story. Sometimes it’s time to make a change, even if nothing seems wrong. I didn’t think I needed a cane. I don’t usually limp. I can walk for miles (especially now). I tend to be a member of the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” school, but I am rethinking that a little. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and continue doing things the same way without noticing that they don’t work quite as well as they could.

And no, I don’t need your seat (except on the DC metro, because that train takes off like a rocket in flight, and over I will go).