Busy doing nothing…

Half ten at night and I still don’t have a post ready for morning. I’ve been sitting at the desk for far too long, with minor excursions to feed me, the fish and the dog… not necessarily in that order… and walk at least two of us. Briefly. ‘Walk’ is, after all, a four letter word. Especially at the moment.

The day did not start well. The pills I had put off taking did not kick in until stupid o’clock… and then I managed to ignore all three alarms, only waking when the sun crested the horizon. I leapt out of bed in a panic and was instantly reminded of why I’d taken the pills in the first place.

Image result for bad back cartoon

“I thought that was a bit daft,” said my son a little while later, sipping his morning concoction and watching as I climbed Everest. I groaned and tried to haul myself off the foot of his bed. Upright seemed a long way away.

My son believes he may have found the cause of the problem. He tells me the workman currently fixing things around his home says it will take three men to re-hang the gate I’d had to shift on my own after the storms a few weeks ago ripped it from its hinges and sent it sailing across the car park.

I think there is a simple answer. I’m falling to bits.

It seems like only yesterday that I was supple, limber, able to move with grace and ease. To be fair, it not that long ago… but lately I have been hobbling around with half-strangled squeals, muttering a variety of four-letter words that were not ‘walk’.

Related image

What has really struck me is how quickly we accept new limitations and adapt. I no longer bend from the waist, but from the knees. I dress the lower half sitting instead of standing, having made that mistake early and felled myself like a tree. What I cannot do the way I have always done before, I simply do some other way instead.

And I can’t make up my mind whether that adaptability is a blessing or a curse.

When things go wrong and cannot be changed, except, by time and the natural march of events, acceptance is a blessing and the only way we can get through the bad patch, putting one foot in front of the other. We adapt to the new circumstances, making the best we can of our lot and finding ways around, or through, the challenges it presents.

But once we have accepted and adapted,  do we start to take things for granted, building new habits that do not serve us well? Do we lose the will to change when our circumstances finally alter? Or have we already accepted a new version of ‘normal’ and begun the cycle again? That is not always a bad thing, especially when there is nothing we can do to change those circumstances ourselves, but how often do we miss a window of opportunity because we are stuck in the acceptance of a status quo we did not choose in the first place?

On the other hand, a simple shift in the way we look at things can change our circumstances drastically, just by changing the way we see the world. I, for example, could feel guilty at my inactivity and bemoan the fact that I haven’t been able to take advantage of the first sunny day to tidy the garden, cut the grass and start digging the soggy mud Alternatively, I can be glad I was able to sit and enjoy the sun effortlessly and blamelessly… and all on the doctor’s orders.

We don’t always have to bend over backwards to meet our own expectations….though ‘bend’ is a four-letter word too. We can accept and adapt, yet still be ready to catch a passing wave and surf the moment. And when the time is right, we can just sit and enjoy the sun. Sometimes, doing nothing is the most useful thing to do.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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84 Responses to Busy doing nothing…

  1. davidprosser says:

    I’ve recently found that getting dressed standing up isn’t as easy as it once was, or to look at it another way , it’s nigh on impossible.Even the top half leaves me vulnerable as once a tee shirt is over my head all sense of balance goes. Bottom half, one leg off the floor to put a sock on, forget it. My brain doesn’t seem to want to accept the new limitations though as it keeps egging me on to ‘Try Again’. I shall keep my bottom firmly planted until I’ve no other choice but to raise it I think.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Roy Lennic says:

    Yep, so true. We really dont have to bend backwrds to meet our expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jenanita01 says:

    I am beginning to accept that the body might be getting too old for certain things… but when will the brain get on board and stop telling us we can still do everything?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. olganm says:

    Sue, I feel it too. I’m in the process of moving back to Barcelona (I’m there but it will take time to settle and sort all the details) and as I was emptying the house, I wondered if I would have managed to do some of the things I did at the time (10 years ago), like carrying furniture around or putting it together alone and plenty of heavy lifting. I keep exercising most days, but I’ve grown fond of ‘low impact’ exercises. And despite doing the 5 rejuvenating Thai rites every morning it is hard (although perhaps it would be harder still if I wasn’t doing them). Take care and yes, a change of perspective is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I know that feeling. Just two years ago I moved here…and carried all the furniture downstairs on my own, including the beds. Could I do it today? Probably, if I had to… but ‘should’ I? Not on your nelly 😉 Take care, Olga, and enjoy your new home 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. buffalopound says:

    For some it has been a long winter with a couple of doses of ‘it’s doing the rounds’ and ‘everyone seems to have it’. Yup, sometimes hard to accept that time doesn’t just pass for everyone else. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tidalscribe says:

    I sympathise, something strange happened to the back of my knee – walking along is fine, anything involving bending it is a problem … I’m going to get that box out of the shed, the one I inherited from my elderly aunt – you put your gardening tools inside it, but can also sit on it instead of kneeling by your tubs and beds!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For me, even bending down to retrieve some dropped object from the floor takes a significant amount of time and forward planning. Oh well !

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jennie says:

    While you may not have intended this to be humorous, it was. Perhaps because I was reading a reflection of myself and my body. Thank you for the smiles and laughing through the pain of it all. The back is the worst!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Darlene says:

    I have trouble doing nothing. Sometimes my body makes me do it! I’m sure your Ani is happy to have you to sit and cuddle with. No more lifting heavy gates for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Until the next time 😉
      Ani would much rather I grabbed ball and leash and took her for a five mile hike than sit at home watching the birds. But she’s still throwing the ball for me 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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  11. Mary Smith says:

    Yep, it’s happening to us all. I was doing that bending from the knees – then the knees went! Hope you get some relief for your back – that’s the worst.


  12. I’m getting aches and twinges in places I’d forgotten I had. Creams and pills don’t seem to cut it now.


  13. Widdershins says:

    Some are born doing nothing, some have ‘doing nothing’ thrust upon them, and some acquiesce gracefully to the ‘nothingness’. I oscillate between the last two. 😀 … may your back ease up soon.

    When I discover a new ache and have to adapt, (some there’s no coming back from) every so often I try doing things the way I used to, sometimes I can’t and sometimes it’s not a good idea. We humans are nothing if not adaptable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. willowdot21 says:

    That’s so true Sue. I have been doing really well lately standing up straight and walking correctly. The today I moved awkwardly in the car. Every bone in my back screamed at me, I am now moving very gingerly and limping! You have my sympathy Sue I do hope you are on the mend soon 💜💜


  15. Eliza Waters says:

    Acceptance and letting go, not easy! But needs must. 😉


  16. willowdot21 says:

    We try 💜 mind you if you rest too much the back will get worse, it’s not easy but you need to find the happy medium 💜💜


  17. I feel my age more and more these days. Hugs. Feel better!


  18. Anne Copeland says:

    I was thinking how I went to the oncologist the other day, and I have to say (and I am sure it sounds odd) that I like waiting rooms. There were plenty of us women in there, and I always love to strike up a conversation when I am in a waiting room for anything. One of the senior ladies was talking about her extremely rare type of cancer of the appendix that is fatal generally. We all sort of chimed in about how, when you first learn of it, you are sort of taken aback because if you speak to 50 other women, they will all offer different experience, knowledge, and their feelings about what they have been through – not just the cancer itself, but their lives before and after. But it is always good, and there is a sort of community that comes of it. It is not a pity party at all because suddenly the best comes out of each and every one.
    As some of you already know, I am a young 76 going on 77, and proud of it too. And I was sitting next to a lady 80 who was truly beautiful. She has blood cancer and had it for some 20 years. She was dressed nicely, had her lovely gray hair fixed so prettily, and she was in great shape, despite the long time she had taken the chemo treatment. I looked around the room, and there were some men there too, but they all remained silent and just listened thoughtfully. Each woman in her turn told her story of finding out, trying to figure out what all the words meant to her, and then doing her research so that she could make an informed decision.

    All of the women sat upright, proud to have taken care of themselves in a way that others could not have done, and all of them seemed to be shining with a light that would not be extinguished to me. We all talked about our physical abilities and how despite aches and pains that often accompany cancer, how we all managed to do things that younger people could not even do. I showed my ability to bend from the waist and touch the floor with hands flat, and to squat and come back up without assistance, and to bend backwards quite a way. I do not go to a gym, and I could not do these things at all when I was younger. It had something to do with when I met the love of my life and we joined forces to love and take care of each other. Suddenly I was finding myself doing things physically that I never did before.
    As we sat in that waiting room, the sun shining into the room and lighting up each of us with some sort of magical energy, I understood why I love the waiting rooms. I saw the faces of the silent ones contemplating this energy and this huge love of life that was so present throughout the room. We are not perfect. We too have our aches and pains; but we are warriors of the spirit to live, and I know as sure as I joined in spirit with those wonderful women that death will not be coming to claim any of us without a hugh fight.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. dgkaye says:

    Eloquently put Sue! 🙂 I hear you on all counts. We are aware of the subtle changes we find ourselves doing, like the leaning against a wall to get your pant leg in to avoid falling, lol. I know this. ❤ Don't give in to that old creepin' age stuff, just find a way around it like I do. ❤


  20. My mother will be 80 years old in October and she is a breast cancer survivor. Recently, she too has been getting back pains which mean she has overdone it and needs to rest. Getting older is hard as the mind is the same.


  21. LucciaGray says:

    Hi Sue,
    Lovely post, from the heart. I can relate. I’ll be 59 soon, and although I haven’t noticed any major limitations in my life, there are some small/minor(?) things that I have to ‘adapt’ to. Adaptability is definitely a blessing. ‘Get used to it and move on’ I say😀


  22. Anne Copeland says:

    Thanks ever so kindly Sue. I was thinking about my experience when you brought yours up. My physically challenged special friend, Barbara Williamson and I always exchange our experiences. I did not write about it, but after all that time in the waiting room, I found out that I could not see the oncologist after all. It was frustrating because I have waited six months and it was time to see him again, and I have another cancer coming up (a skin cancer), so it needs to be dealt with. My Medicare/Medical insurance did not cover this and so I have to go back to the GP, get seen again, get another referral for a new oncologist perhaps, and then make an appt. to see that person. It reminded me of your talking about the frustrations of pains that we tend to get and the limbs, etc. that no longer work the way they should, or we still think they should do. You look so young and so beautiful it is hard to imagine you with anything not working, but then when I looked at that lady who was 80 and so beautiful, and discovered that she has had blood cancer for some 12 years, I found that equally hard to believe.
    One of the artists in our book, who used to be a civil rights judge, has MS, and so her artistic abilities keep getting worse and worse. She has an amazing ability to keep turning things for her benefit, and her most recent art project was called “The Waiting Room.” She had people in waiting rooms write their experiences and thoughts as they waited and they are on display in some of those waiting rooms, which helps people a lot.
    I think when we find something isn’t physically working right, it IS very good to talk about it and get it out there. Having to hold the things that hurt us inside is not good for the psyche or our creative spirit; getting it out evokes things that need to come out in others too.
    I don’t know why I didn’t think of posting “The Waiting Room” on my own blog, but if you had not given me that good suggestion, it would have sat there unread and unappreciated. I thank you so much for that. I am trying to redesign it now, adding more graphics, a new format, etc. and I am inching along, but it is a satisfying job. I am not used to posting often though, and that is something I still have to learn to do. This is definitely the school of life! Hugs and good white light for your hurts. I know that bringing them out will help you to feel better for another day still.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      The systems we are subject to for our health never run smoothly.I have three hospital appointments booked, at three different hospitals, in three different towns, over the course of five days… And I’m betting none of them will give me any answers 😉

      I do hope they get you sorted out, Anne. That is not the kind of thing that needs to be kept waiting!

      I agree, though, the challenges we face can fuel creativity if we allow them to do so.

      (And that photo is five years old, one of the nicest I’ve ever had taken, so I’m reluctant to replace it with a new one 😉 )


  23. Deborah Jay says:

    Definitely moving heavy gates should come off your future schedule, but accepting and adapting to what, as you justifiably hope, is a temporary thing, is not always the best answer, as I’ve discovered.
    After ignoring increasing pain levels in my hips and lower back for 2 years (I’m not that old, dammit, I used to be able to manage, I kept telling myself), I finally went to the doctor. After X-rays, the dreaded ‘arthritis’ was diagnosed.
    As you might be aware of, I’m a sports pro – a professional dressage rider – so this didn’t sit at all well with me – end of career type of ‘not well’. So I pushed my way through the NHS system, which took 6 months, before arriving at the ‘extended scope physiotherapist’, who gave me hope. What I actually had was bursitis and tendonopathy, not arthritis at all.
    If I’d accepted that original diagnosis, by now I would probably have given up my career and still been in pain and taking analgesia I don’t need, potentially causing other long term health issues.
    As it is, I’ve accepted that my body can no longer stay fit and healthy on youth alone, so I start every day with a 20 minute yoga stretching and strengthening work out, and get a massage almost every week, and while I’m not totally pain-free yet (one year into this regime), I’m still improving by about one percent a week. By the end of this year it’ll probably be about as good as it gets, but I will still have a career and a future that I wouldn’t have had if I’d accepted and adapted.
    Oh, and before this happened I was starting to accept certain age limitations (I’m 58), like not being able to touch my toes. Now I can put my hands flat on the floor!


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I could still touch my toes till a couple of weeks ago, and I’m a little older than you. I’m dealing with the NHS on several fronts at the moment, banging my head against the wall that wants to treat each symptom as if it is something separate..o just the ageing process… or whatever else they can come up with…instead of looking at the problems as a whole. I find it incredibly frustrating.
      I’ve had arthritis for years and sort of managed it myself, but there is a limit…and I won’t be fobbed off with painkillers and sympathy 😉


      • Deborah Jay says:

        Exactly, and good for you! It took me over a year and working with 3 different physical therapists to piece together what I’d actually done, and how to fix it as best as it can be fixed. I refuse to have my symptoms treated without knowing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of a situation, I’m just disappointed it took so long. The NHS is definitely not equipped for looking at an overall picture 😦


        • Sue Vincent says:

          They no longer seem to have departments communicating…and no-one has time to read through notes any more. I know the staff are doing the best they can with the systems, but the systems are painful…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Deborah Jay says:

            Yes, and GPs really are not equipped to deal with anything more than small everyday issues. What’s worse is they are being discouraged from making referrals, to save money. My doctor admitted that, and then also that this was storing up vast costs for the future, but that isn’t important to those in power now.
            A friend of mine went through a ridiculously long series of treatments for his ME-like symptoms without a proper diagnosis, some of which have caused long-term health issues he didn’t need to have. Eventually he was diagnosed with sleep apnoea, and when he finally got to that department they asked how long it had taken to get there. 7 years. And they told him that was about average for people with his condition!


      • pollyesther says:

        Many years ago, still in my twenties, after feeling fobbed off by a skin specialist, I came to the conclusion that our medical system is not addressing the causes of many complex health issues that we generally go to our GP’s for. This realization awakened a passion inside myself to take charge of my own health, which started a thirst for knowledge that still continues and only got stronger, the more I discovered! I managed to get off all medications and feel better now in my fifties than when this journey started.

        Yes, I too can place my hands flat on the floor with my legs straight and regularly check if I can still do the cartwheels I learned as a kid 😉 You can see me in the local playground dangling off horizontal bars to straighten my back after a hard day at work, or rolling around on a yoga mat giving my back a decent massage.

        I am so thankful that this specialist forced me to rely on listening to my body and ask what it needs as the answers always present themselves to me in many shapes and forms. One more recent double hint was a book called “The Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter that gave me a solution to stop my beginning arthritis from developing further. All I have done so far is adjust my diet and am totally painfree! My next mission is aiming to reduce the minor joint deformations that are still present in 2 of my knuckles by adding a high quality mineral supplement that claims to heal arthritis and keeping alert to new hints and tips that blow my way by Grace.

        As you can see I am not the type to act according to, nor accept the norms that go with what is expected of my age 😉 Based on what my journey taught me, I have come to believe that most of those are a load of bu….euhm… benefits for a flourishing, fear mongering ‘sickness’ industry that only works to keep their customers coming back for more! I would only consider their services for acute injuries and extreme situations, after weighing up their suggestions carefully backed up by my own research. (medical errors are still rising as a cause of death in recent years)

        I hope you find your answers too and get back to your younger self real soon and in the mean time: “It is what it is, but things always change, so make sure it is for the better!”


        • Sue Vincent says:

          I always look at alternatives, rather than swalling the pills and shutting up. I know most of the mechanical problems are down to the life I have asked my body to lead…and that’s fair enough. I’ve had fun with it so far, and don’t intend to stop any time soon 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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  25. macjam47 says:

    Sue, I feel for you. I have been battling back problems, shoulder, knee, and foot issues but I will not give in. I use whatever works. Pilates and pool exercise work for me. The problem is my mind always says, “you can do this” and it isn’t always wise to listen to the mind. Though I am 71, I feel and act much younger. None of us knows what the future holds for us, but whatever comes my way, I am ready to battle. Take care of yourself. 💕♥️💕


  26. noelleg44 says:

    Aging is certainly no fun at all, and I think the worst part has been the constant adjustment to things that don’t work as they once use to. I can still get stuff on standing up but I have to hold onto something!! or lean against a wall. .. Keep the faith, Sue. You are still one of the most active women I know!


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