A year ago, I got worried that I was falling a lot. So I started keeping a spreadsheet, which I wrote about in one of my first posts. If you missed it, what I found was that 1) I wasn’t falling nearly as much as I though, and 2) there were extenuating circumstances.
Before my tally, I assumed I was falling every other week. Turns out I fell five times in six months. Four of those falls fell on two high-stress days: The fifth was caused by a loose stepping stone which would have tripped a 20 year old.
The first high-stress day was my 69th birthday, where I took a bunch of friends Adult Tree Climbing and then home for a big dinner. It was really really fun, but I have since realized that I’m not that comfortable throwing big, huge, sit-down dinners. So that was an extenuating circumstance. Later, I realized that I had forgotten to eat all day. And come to think of it, Adult Tree Climbing for a 69 year-old exercise phobe like myself, might have been a questionable choice.
The other 2-fall day was the day of a huge Christmas party. Aside from the fact that Christmas makes me crazy anyway, this event included some judgmental people. Also, I didn’t get any sleep the night before. Plus there may have been an issue with shoes.
Not Adequately Rested
Thinking about extenuating circumstances really helped me get a grip. Just knowing and thinking about these things, I’ve made some changes, more sleep & regular meals during stress times, some shoes retired, no huge sit-down dinners unless they’re potluck. I only fell twice last year, and one of those was literally dripping with extenuating circumstances which were easily remedied. Because of this I have shucked off the fear that I’m falling all the time. That’s huge because walking around feeling like you’re about to keel over actually makes you more likely to keel over.
Same with other people who think you’re about to keel over. There was an amazing rat study on the effect of other people’s expectations, even if we aren’t aware of them. They took two batches of identical rats. They told researchers that one batch was breed for high intelligence. The others were said to be a little slow. When the researchers ran the rats through a series of mazes, low and behold, the supposedly smart rats scored 15% better than the supposedly dumb ones. Remember, the rats were identical – brothers and sisters and cousins, identical. The people who ran the experiment aren’t quiet sure why this happened, but I know that if people are hovering about expecting me to fall on my face, by Gawd, I do. I’m not sure what I do with this information, just knowing it seems to help.
I love what Frank Bascomb has to say about falling in “Let Me Be Frank With You”:
“What is it about falling? ‘He died of a fall.’ ‘The poor thing never recovered after his fall.’ ‘He broke his hip in a fall and was never the same.’ … How far do these people fall? Off of buildings? Over spumming cataracts? Down manholes? Is it farther to the ground than it used to be? In years gone by, I’d fall on the ice and hop back up, and never think a thought. Now it’s a death sentence. What Sally said to me was ‘Be careful when you go down those front steps, sweetheart. The surface isn’t regular, so pick your feet up.’ Why am I now a walking accident waiting to happen? Why am I more worried about that than whether there’s an afterlife?”
This is a version of the spreadsheet I used to chart my falling. If you’re afraid you’re falling is getting out of control, print this up (or just write it on a piece of paper) and keep tabs. I’m sure you’ll find extenuating circumstances that are different from mine. I hope you’ll find, like me, that it’s not as bad as you imagine. And that you can identify some changeable things that will make you more steady. Eventually we may all get to the point where we’re falling all over the place. But I sure don’t want to get there BEFORE I’M THERE!
Here’s the chart:
DATE | PLACE | EXTENUATION CIRCUMSTANCES
Originally posted 2017-02-19 01:08:27.