Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A-Z Challenge: D - Difficult Decisions

One of the things I realized as I took care of my elderly father and mother-in-law is that aging brings limitations. The body begins wearing out - hearing goes, eyesight dims, knees and hips give out. You must learn to live without some things you were used to having.

At 62, I am facing such a limitation. My left knee has stage IV osteoarthritis - there is virtually no cartilage left - bone is on bone. I am a folkdancer - it is something that brings me great joy. And it is the thing that brought hubs and I together - something we share together. If I continue folkdancing, my knee will wear out even faster and I will need total knee replacement much sooner. If I stop, there is no telling how long I can prolong things before needing the surgery.

I have received conflicting information about whether or not I will be able to folkdance after total knee replacement. It hinges on how well the knee can rotate with metal inside it to function.

I am choosing to let go of dancing now and delay the surgery as long as possible. I told hubs we will have to find other things we can do together. There is a deep sadness in thinking I might not ever dance again, but I am also accepting it rather gracefully. I've decided to do something I've wanted to do since I was 8 - take piano lessons.

Perhaps that is a key ingredient in aging. As one thing happens that brings limitation, we can find a substitute. Who knows? Difficult decisions are challenging, to say the least, but if we can find ways to fill the loss which comes from a decision, then maybe they won't be so hard.

Blessings,
Karen

27 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Playing piano is magical. I used to play. Not so much now. But when I did, I would be transported into another world, even when my skills were crap. You'll enjoy it, I'm sure! :o)

Jessica @ The Alliterative Allomporph

Wanda said...

May you continue to discover new doors of creativity and enjoyment.

Debora Dennis said...

I hope you feel better, it's so hard on the soul when we have to give things up because of physical limitations. Creativity finds a way...

Fellow A to Z blogger
www.deboradennis.com/blog

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. I haven't been so good recently exercising since giving up the game of squash .. and spending hours by my mother's bedside - doesn't help either .. but the piano sounds an excellent alternative - so creative! I can't fall back on that!! Cheers Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You and I are the same age, so we're essentially singing the same song. Making tough decisions and letting some things go is inevitable, but by grabbing onto new things, as you have, and by rejoicing in the positive aspects of aging, (there really ARE some!) this can be a very rewarding time of life.

Karen Walker said...

Jessica, it is magical so far. I'm must loving it!
Wanda, thanks.
Deborah, I am at peace with the decision.
Hilary, oh Gosh, I know about caregiving. It is exhausting. Be good to you!
Susan, thanks, yes, there are some very rewarding things, like wisdom.
Karen

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I hate aging. I still look about 30, but my body is telling me I'm well into my 40's. My husband says I'm starting to fall apart - LOL!

Margo Kelly said...

I wish you the best! :) Difficult decisions are just that - - but we can grow from them. :)

Nikki @ Raising Marshmallows said...

Oh, that breaks my heart that you have to give up something you love so dearly. I'm glad you found a new adventure though...and piano is wonderful!

Candyland said...

Sorry to hear:( But you know, difficult decisions are difficult for a reason. If they were easy, we couldn't grow and learn from them.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, yeah, me too. But it's better than the alternative.
Margo, how true. Thanks.
Nicki, I'm loving the piano and I've only had 3 lessons so far.
Candyland, thanks - you're so right.
karen

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Oh, Karen. This is my first visit to your blog and it made me smile and cry, all at the same time. Your writing is beautiful. I am grateful I found you via the AtoZchallenge today.

My D for Today.

Karen Walker said...

Julie, thanks so much. I'm touched.
Karen

Jeanne said...

Nice post. I am dealing with knee issues myself. Though I am a klutzy dancer and never had the ability to do what you have done. I will also be in the market for 2 knee replacements eventually.
I think piano is a nice alternative. I myself just want to write and listen to music. And I do public speaking on aging with humor.

walk2write said...

It's nice to meet you! I hope you find a good alternative to the dancing. I'm pretty klutzy myself in that regard, but I understand what you're feeling. Walking has always been my thing, and it's a significant part of what has kept our marriage strong for 31 years.

You have a great attitude about life. I wish you all the best with your decisions.

The Words Crafter said...

Wow. What a wonderful perspective you have! Yes, that's a very graceful decision and I admire your determination to not give up but to simply make another choice!

Jules said...

As one door closes, another will open or so I have been told. Considering everything I have envisioned about you from this blog... you will not be settling that easy, go on open that window too :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Sheila Siler said...

I am 50 and just injured my right knee. When to an orthopedist today, getting a MRI to see what I've done to myself. I am very aware of things changing as we age, but I think you are right. We don't focus on what we can't do anymore, but use the time to learn something knew and grow in new directions. Thanks for coming by my blog.

Ann Best said...

At almost 71, my bones are still okay--I hope. I would so hate to have bone on bone. I do feel for you. But you are one creative woman. Take piano lessons! And there's always, always writing. AND, you have a wonderful husband. Enjoy!!
Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

Lindsay N. Currie said...

What a beautiful post! You know, your perspective is just amazing. One door rarely closes without another door opening. Taking piano will be an opportunity that you might have otherwised missed. Lovely blog - new follower and fellow A to Z blogger!

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like you have a plan to keep yourself busy and active despite everything.

Ann said...

When God closes one door, he opens another. As the saying goes. Good for you to look for an alternative rather than brood.

Michelle in a shell said...

Hi there! Thank you for stopping by my blog!

This post really hits home for me. Partially because my mother is 63 and every time I see her I notice similar limitations- it's hard to see my parent suffering! Also, I'm suffering from a knee injury myself so I completely feel that pain.

But I do love the idea to begin taking piano lessons. Not so much a substitute for dancing, but rather an opportunity to do what you always wanted to...

Good luck! (and lovely post!)

David L Macaulay said...

Great post Karen. I hate the ageing thing but am in denial, of course. Good luck with the decision.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for the follow, Karen. I'm honored to do the same. My heart goes out to you, given your dilemma. I love dancing too. I don't know what I'd do.
Keep faith.
xoRobyn

Rebecca Bradley said...

I think playing the piano is a beautiful substitute and wish you lots of treasured moments doing it.

Holly Jahangiri said...

It's awful getting old.

Beats the alternative, though. :) And I think the key is accepting that while there are limitations, there are plenty of new opportunities to learn and do and enjoy life.

Staying happy in a long marriage not only involves finding new things to do together, but embracing the notion that you don't have to do everything together - like piano lessons. Maybe he wants to take up golf, or oil painting. The important thing is to share your interests at the end of the day, and to pursue those interests to the best of your ability while you can, to wring every drop of joy from this thing called "life" and soak it up. :)