“It Isn’t the Mountains Ahead that Wear You Out…”

“…but the grain of sand in your shoe.”  As far as I know it is my Mother who wrote these lines in my scribbler when I was a child but I don’t know the author.

A Story:

This is a quick summary of what has been happening. I joined the Seniors Ravens Membership, at Carleton University,  along with my friend, at the beginning of the year.  I love my program and the benefits from my strength training and Tai Chi are already noticeable.  I get to go three mornings a week, and because I have a buddy, I don’t skip out. I’ve been feeling pretty darn good about the whole thing.

And then:

Monday night after a wonderful weekend I was walking home under a starry sky. In one split second I was on the ground, four houses from home. Just like that. I was well equipped for icy conditions and treading carefully but even with the best of attention, that black ice snuck up on me. I didn’t see it and with no warning I crashed hard on the pavement.

Immediately I realized my good luck because I didn’t hit my head although I was mostly on my back. In a minute or so, a young man came to my rescue. I carefully wiggled my left leg off of my right, and I could see that there was nothing broken. He pulled me off the black ice to dry pavement and helped me to stand. I got my bearings, he escorted me home, and I did the ICE (ice, compress, elevate) and hoped for the best.


Distress set in after a sleepless night and an unstable left knee. As morning broke I played out the scenarios of not being able to go to my strength training classes for months; not being able to help my friend; not being able to get to the Dr. or take Rowan to his math class that day and on and on. Even though I was so careful walking and wore excellent space age ice trackers on my boots, and heck, the unfairness of it all. I rely (like all of us) on my body’s ability to move me around. You get the picture of the state of my mind. I was in the pits.

I am telling you this so that we are reminded, as humans, when the unexpected happens we initially and naturally become distressed. No matter how well we are prepared, or how much we meditate, or how together we are, we can all feel lousy when something happens that we don’t like or impacts our lifestyle.

It’s what happens next that can make the difference.

My daughter took the day off work and helped me out and son-in-law, Graeme,  took Rowan to math. Granddaughter Sophie wrote encouraging texts and my friend John loaned me a cane. A friend  made me laugh when he offered to design a new course for me called “Living Crappy with Illness, and the first principle is to take responsibility for moaning loud and often.”

I immediately signed up and cheered up.

I did see the Dr and I do have soft tissue damage that will take a few weeks to heal but guess what?? I can return to my workouts next week but no squats or knee bending. Upper body training that I need most is a go and so is Tai Chi.  Pain provides important information. (I have little pain and advil takes care of it) So I am cautiously optimistic that I will adapt to these changing circumstances, like all of us are called to do, many times in our lives.

Don’t Compare Suffering

Taking a fall and having soft tissue damage is not to be compared to serious illness and accidents that many of us go through. Rather I see my fall as typical of the daily ups and downs of life that everyone experiences. It is normal, don’t you think. We can take nothing for granted. Yet, with a slight shift in perceptive we will soon acknowledge what could have happened and didn’t happen in those circumstances. Along with the wonder of our world and appreciation for our fellow humans as we make our way along, professional and otherwise. It becomes obvious.

A word of advice

Last night my son called and advised that I take it easy for a day or two. “Give yourself a chance to rest, read, put your feet up. A fall shakes us up and we need a little recovery time.” So I did just that today and this is what happened: I sat down in the reading chair, by the window,  this morning but soon dozed off.  Sun was streaming in and it felt just like sunbathing in the middle of winter. Almost like  Hawaii. On the other hand, I don’t ever sunbathe, but this particular morning  blossomed into a spontaneous sense of pure joy in the unexpected luxury of doing absolutely nothing. Just being breathed under the warmth of the sun.

A word of caution

I have written before about the slippery slope of feeling better. You know, we then throw caution to the wind and jump back into our normal routine as though nothing happened at all. I felt so much better this afternoon that I did just that. No harm done but the pain was a reminder that I need to be patient. Take it easy. No bounding around. Small steps. Adjust expectations.

I Get To

For long-time readers of this blog you know I like the difference between “I have to” do something and “I get to do” something. Today I received a slightly different take on this difference and I will adopt it into my own life. The people at Gratefulness.org suggest that when we say something like, “I get to” that we end with “when so many people cannot.”

I will remember this as “I get to” adapt my exercise to my new normal, remembering all the people who cannot do anything because of the severity of their falls, accidents or illnesses.

Last week’s quote is still relevant here:

Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living –  heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 
L.R. Knost


Thank you one and all for doing me the honour of reading this weekly blog. I appreciate it more than you will ever know and I am grateful when I hear that sometimes my borrowed words are helpful and encouraging. Heartfelt thanks. Warmly, Trudy


11 replies
  1. Eileen Wilson
    Eileen Wilson says:

    I am so sorry you had to lake a fall . I agree with Rob I think you should take some time for rest and relaxation. You certainly earn it .You do so much for all of others including your mother . So make some time for yourself so you can still write your blog next week,. Ha ! your favourite mother xxoo

  2. Judy Bernstein
    Judy Bernstein says:

    So sorry to hear about your fall. Yet you always manage after addressing the crappiness to turn it into something positive that you can share and help all your readers dealing with the lows go high.
    Trudy, you amaze me. Take care of yourself.

  3. Helga Beer
    Helga Beer says:

    So glad Trudy that you didn’t break a leg, an ankle, a wrist…..your blog resonates with Henry Miller’s thoughts on growing old in today’s brainpickings: “ No matter how restricted my world may become I cannot imagine it leaving me void of wonder. I do not ask how it came about, this creation in which we swim, but only to enjoy and appreciate it. “ Miller calls this attitude “ my religion”. It is yours too. Recover fully under and in more sunshine!

  4. Sue Fitzwilson
    Sue Fitzwilson says:

    No blame Trudy. I often feel minutes away from a fall. Tricky at this stage in life. I love your spirit and honesty. Hope you have a quick recovery.
    Big Hug!

  5. Janice
    Janice says:

    Dear Heart, I am grateful that you escaped a possible concussion or broken bones, always a risk in these icy conditions. I am grateful too for your attitude of practical ‘this sucks’ (which needs be named) along side, and in the foreground of, ‘life is good’ which you masterfully articulate. There are so many opportunities to feel grateful for the gifts of living this life no matter how many grains of sand in the shoe. Rest well in the love that surrounds you Trudy. with appreciation for you, Jan

  6. Tamara
    Tamara says:

    Dear Trudy
    So sorry to read about your fall. Thank God you were able to get help quickly. I always say to myself “walk like a penguin” when outside. Maybe we all need to carry a leather pouch of sand to sprinkle the areas we walk. What a concept. Thankfully, you are with family and friends. Spring is just around the corner. I love reading your blogs, Tamara

  7. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Awwww, my Trudy-o! I am so sorry you had a little fall…but I LOVE that Rob told you just to take it easy for a day or 2…that is SO important. Take your time.
    Wish I could be there to nurse you back to health…but that window in my heart is still open to yours and sending you love and healing energy.
    Love you.
    Nance ox

  8. Helen Wirrell
    Helen Wirrell says:

    Wow, what a shock to your system. And how lovely that you had someone able to help you home. Thanks for sharing your experience, and changing thoughts around it. I so appreciate that you can acknowledge the crappiness of it, and turn it into gold – sitting in your chair being bathed by the warmth of the sun. Take things gently Trudy.💐🌸🌺☀️

  9. Jiun
    Jiun says:

    Dear Trudy, I send you my hug and good wishes to recover by sunbathing in your chair:) I’m sorry to hear about you falling down on icy road… and at the same time I appreciate you’re sharing your experience and story in such a wonderful, inspiring way, showing us how you’re making your next small steps towards life and its appreciation.
    It happened to you and I believe the Universe takes care of everything – It knew you would make a precious supporting story for all of us… Thank you so much for showing us how after 7 steps back you’re making 8 steps forward…
    Wishing you a wonderful day of recovery with love from me… thank you! Jiun

  10. Yoshie
    Yoshie says:

    Dearest Trudy. I am so sorry for your fall. I just nod what other friends’ commemts. I always admire your 200% energy to convey your thought to support us. Even at your accident you gave us good words of warning. Thank you.Rest well for a while, that is what it means. Love, Yoshie


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