You don’t think about your legs, other than fleeting thoughts like, should I shave them? Do they look ok in these shorts? No, legs often don’t get a look in. They carry you here and there, mostly uncomplaining, until the day they stop working. Before my legs gave up the ghost, I didn’t give them a second thought. I should say leg. I do have one perfectly serviceable limb. The left leg is a model citizen, but the right one has been trouble since the day I was born.
In fairness it had a reason to complain. The hip sat out of its socket for two years before anyone noticed, (shouldn’t that child be walking by now?) Then following some pins and plates and nine months hung upside down in full leg plaster of paris, the leg was finally persuaded to play ball. Crappy leg has had a full and happy life, but its always been the slightly gimpy, awkward cousin. The interesting one, full of centipede scars, plaster burns and indentations. In a strange way, its always been my favourite leg. Which is why I felt slightly betrayed when it gave up on me.
Sadly my recent Xray reveals, the head of my femur now resembles swiss cheese. The joint has collapsed. So next month a hip reconstruction is scheduled with an orthopaedic surgeon, who looks suspiciously like a Swedish herring fisherman.
Here is my gift to you. It is a simple thing. I have seen into the future. I have discovered truths, things you didn’t even know you would miss. Simple pleasures you need to be doing more of, right now. You’ll thank me later, I promise.
Run, just for the hell of it. Run after the kids to beat them to the football, or to score a run in back yard cricket. Run away from that wasp, arms flapping. Run for the bus or the last train and leap into that carriage moments before the door closes. Run on that treadmill with your music blaring out. Run under that tree to escape the shower. Run though the long grass to your lover. Up the stairs fast enough to forget what you went up for. Run laps, run riot, run 10km in the City to Surf, run your mouth off. Buy runners, good ones, that give your feet orgasms.
Walk the dog. Walk the lonely roads, the moral high ground if you must. Walk the dog on the mountain tracks, the breathing forest and the river side paths. Take your shoes off, feel the beach under your toes. Clamber on rocks, climb on playground equipment you are too big for. Wear unsuitable shoes,heels on the beach,slippers in the supermarket. Walk in the rain, walk at night. Discover your city on foot, urban art, tunnels, bridges. Know how it feels to walk in someone elses shoes. Take baby steps and giant leaps for mankind, relish blisters, they are natures way of telling you that you are traveling far.
Play Twister, Hang upside down from the monkey bars. Crawl into that pillow fort or blanket tent. Sit cross legged to share a book, and climb that ladder to the tree house. Crouching in the cubby for the imaginary tea party. Make every slide, swing and roundabout your domain. Play fight, play fair, play house. Throw yourself at carousels and roller coasters with abandon. Make water slides your friend and never pass up on crazy golf, no matter how tired you might feel.
The thing that seem to be so overlooked is the thing you will miss the most. To dance is to give laughter legs. Turn up the volume, slip off you shoes and submit to the rhythm. Dance alone, dance together. Dance in the dark when no one is watching and burn the floor up at that family wedding. Don’t censure yourself or give a rats ass what anyone thinks- including your children- No, especially your children.
The One day Stuff
Do the ‘one day’ stuff. You know what I mean, ‘one day I’m going learn that guitar, paint that portrait, finish that book, take photographs’. We promise ourselves so much when the time is right. The time is never going to be right. Nope not ever. The time is now, not when we have lost 2kgs, not when the kids are bigger, or our houses tidier but now. Ironically it was only when my gimpy leg slowed me down enough, that I started to do the things I actually love, those I had once been “too busy for.” It turns out, that is the stuff that I now want to do every day. If things go well, perhaps I will be lucky enough to reclaim my dancing, running, playing life. If I do, I hope I never forget the value of the ‘One day’ stuff I found whilst sitting on the bench.