Aging Gracefully (Or Not): Physical events

Aging Gracefully (Or Not): Physical events

Natalie Gelman

Physical events become more meaningful as we age. What may have seemed minor when we were younger takes on an added perspective because the consequences are usually more significant.

It was Saturday, January 19 - National Service Day, a holiday encouraging people to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., whose official day of recognition was the following Monday. Ari and Isaac were coming over to spend the night and they were being dropped off after lunch.

When they arrived, we headed to Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline Park in Oakland. On the way we discussed the meaning of a service day.

Both boys said they knew that doing community service work was a good thing. They both knew the name Martin Luther King, Jr. As we talked about him, there were things that they did not know about, like the discrimination that existed in this country. Growing up in San Francisco in a diverse community and school, this history was intriguing to them.

I had brought three large trash bags, as our community service was going to be to collect trash in the park. We got out of the car and began to walk toward the estuary, over a small amount of grass.

Suddenly, my left foot went into a hole in the grass and I fell over. I had my right hand in my jacket pocket, so my left hand bore the brunt of the fall. At that moment, I realized that I do not seem to be able to stop my falls anymore. I put this down to aging.

My pant knees were dirty, but I got up - not easilyy anymore whenever I am on the floor or ground - and I continued to walk.

We collected three full bags of garbage, which took over and hour. My hand was swelling. There was also some swelling on my right knee. When we got home, I put a bag of frozen vegetables on my knee and hand.

The swelling in my knee went down quickly; fortunately, I removed my ring and watch from my left hand before it would have been impossible to remove them. I took anti-inflammatory pills for three days for my hand and then decided to allow the swelling to reduce on its own. It has been nine days now, and I suspect it is going to be a long time before I am able to wear my ring.

Aging. Did I mention that twice in this piece?

Natalie Gelman can be contacted at Her web site is