Is It an Obstacle or an Adventure?

Write down these two words on a sheet of paper or on the computer screen.

Obstacle Adventure

When you encounter stresses do the following. Think, is that stress an obstacle in my lifeor an adventure to learn from. Adventure is a process from where you learn something even from an obstacle.

The physician’s assistant I see in my internist doctor office happens to be a certified counselor and he told me that phrase and he uses it sometimes for his patients. I thought it

a marvelous saying, actually a wonderful phrase to be utilized by all of us. His name is Dennis H. Myers of Baltimore, Maryland. A finer medical person like Dennis will be hard to find.

I am a born worrier, my husband says I worry even more than my mom and she was a

great worrier. I feel that sometimes we should worry about things because if we do that, it means in my mind, that we think things out sometimes before they happen or will happen.

If we do that, then perhaps we can reason out the outcome and possibly change the result to a better solution. I fell last Friday, July 2nd going down a curb in front of the hair salon I frequent on Friday afternoons. I stepped down between two parked cars (one ours) with my husband holding his arm out to support my going down the curb. Something happened and I missed his arm and the curb and down I went. I found myself sitting on the pavement with him and a stranger trying to lift me up off the ground. I could not make my knees work to help lift myself up. Immediately I thought, gee they will have to call an ambulance to get me off the ground. This was the OBSTACLE in front of me which was me; I was the obstacle by not being able to lift my body off the cement ground.

Now I am not implying that this obstacle was an adventure in the making, but it certainly was a huge and ugly obstacle. I decided right then and there in the midst of a sunny July afternoon that this would be an adventure of sorts, probably bad sorts but I had to start it by helping my aching knees and lifting myself so the two men could get me up. I did and they did and the rest is an aching and sore adventure.

I went to the doctor office where the dear physician’s assistant checked me out and told me to ice the tussy area for twenty-four hours, then heat on it, take Tylenol, heat on my knees and etc etc.It was a holiday weekend so I could not go for x-rays until four days later because I have an aversion to emergency rooms in hospital. So on Tuesday, I went for x-rays of the right knee and hip and pelvis x-rays too. Everything was ok and I was black and blue on the tussy and even nine days later it is a palette of dark navy blues.

This obstacle-adventure has been a rough one full of pain, hard to sit and an aching knee. I wound up taking seventeen x-rays which pushes into my body much radiation but the doctors had to know of injuries. So in the long run at this senior age, I guess all this radiation will not matter. What does matter is that I am on the road to recovery, I hope and on the road to going ballroom dancing next Sunday which will be sixteen days after the fall.

However, I did not mention why I fell. I always try to walk off a curb by going to the slanted or slope part of most curbs and even if I have to walk a tiny bit further, it is well worth not falling like I did. My dear husband said "you can walk between the cars, I will hold my arm out for your hand and you got up the curb, so do it." I knowing better what I can accomplish at this senior age should have held my ground, walked a few seconds longer down the slant/slope and everything would have been fine. I decided to listen to him (that will be the last time forever) especially when I know at this senior age what I cannot or can do. I should not have given in and done what he wanted. I should have had enough sense to know what my body can do or not do.

So when there is an obstacle and we see no adventure side by side with it, then we should follow our intelligence, mind and thoughts and do what we want, not what somebody, even your husband, child, friend or even a co-worker wants you to do and that being what they want, go ahead and be brave and take the obstacle that looms before you and let something else lead you to a real adventure that is full of hope, health and happiness.

Obstacles can be what they are-obstacles. but we can keep them in their category and instead take a tiny adventure-walk that extra few feet to the slant/slope sidewalk and not be the recipient of many weeks of pain.

It is not worth it especially to please someone else. When you or I know what we can accomplish, then we are wise persons to accept what is reality for us and what we can do or not do at this age.

We will live longer for it, take less anti-biotics and keep our minds and body active. knowing that any obstacle overcome can be an adventure (in my case a hurting adventure) All adventures will not always be great happenings but they can be a learning experience as I have had. Mine is that I do not need to please everyone all the time at this senior age. I am old enough and wise enough to know what my body or mind can accomplish. Just because I choose to walk a slope/slant than go down on a curb because someone wants me to does not make me a bad person. In fact, it shows that I have courage to do what I want, where I want and when I want. Then a good adventure evolves and in this case a much happier person because I did not fall because I took precautions.

So do not let obstacles whether in the mind, thoughts or in reality in front of you like a curb you could not handle get in your way of having adventures. Adventures can be only simple things like going to a library and taking out a new novel. It can be signing up for group dance sessions; it can be signing up for private dance lessons. I t can be an adventure of anything you want to be an adventure.

When we go every third Sunday to Northern Virginia to see our son, daughter-in-law and the two younger grandchildren Ethan and Ava that is our supreme adventure driving over eighty miles in lots of traffic. Traffic may be an obstacle at times, but the adventure is getting there and seeing all of them. That makes the driving obstacle turn into a grand adventure.

My daughter-in-law Lan said Ethan almost age five asked her when are Grammie and Grandpa coming and she said "not until next Sunday." Ethan said "why do I have to wait so many days for them to come?" She said "why do you want them to come?" He said "because I love them."

That is the adventure I seek every third Sunday, regardless of traffic obstacles and the other adventure I seek now on the other Sundays is going to a ballroom Sunday afternoon dance at our studio The Promenade. My aching knees and sore tussy from the fall last week will be an obstacle for me to dance easily but the adventure will be trying to do it and succeeding and as Ethan said I love them, so it is I love dancing.

Do not let any obstacles deter you from any adventure that may result whether it is ballroom dancing, visiting someone or anything you want that is worthwhile in your senior life. Let the obstacle become the adventure you seek because surely you will be the winner and life will be sweeter.

Elita Sohmer Clayman

August 2010

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL