No, that’s not me. I’m not quite that old.

I’ll bet you think this is a post about finding the right balance between work and family and what not. Well, no, it’s not. What, you ask? I will tell you. But let me go back in time a little. Okay, a lot, but not as much as the picture.

Let’s meander back to when I was young enough to walk along the tops of fences, like a tightrope. I’m not saying I didn’t tumble, because I did. I tumbled off a lot of things. But I had great balance. I rode my bike, walked along fences and curbs, and even walked the roof line more than my mom knew. The world was less safe, but a lot more fun.

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunkOur playgrounds were almost death traps that we somehow managed to escape alive. I can remember swinging (and not those wussy rubber swings, these were full on boards) so high the swing would go over the pole. We’d get the swing going as high as we could, then let go and sail through the air. We hit the ground pretty hard, but I don’t remember it hurting that much. My knees might have a different story, of course.

The point is, we played hard and fast. One summer someone’s parents introduced stilts into the play. I don’t remember which parent did it, but stilt love spread rapidly through our kid intensive neighborhood. The original height was maybe a foot off the ground? Then the spirit of competition filtered into our play. The stilts got higher and higher.

You might not believe me, but my brothers crafted a pair that you had to sit on the edge of the roof to attach. Yeah, you strapped them to your legs and took off. If you fell, well…don’t. I tried out the various heights and yeah, I did the roof pair. Once. I only circled the yard, with my brother shouting, “Don’t stop!” I wobbled my way back to the roof line and managed to get sat down again.

I tried to find a photograph of one of us on stilts. Didn’t expect to find the roof stilts because I think we were doing those without permission, but back then photos were more staged, because the equipment wasn’t that easy to use. So I can offer no proof, just my somewhat suspect memory.

That said, the roof high stilts were my high bar for being “balanced.” My pinnacle of balanced-ness. Fast forward a lot of years. Was shocked to find myself not so in control of my balance. At first, I couldn’t figure out why. Did some reading and realized I’d stop practicing staying balanced. Yup, if you don’t work on it, you can lose it.

I’m not saying that’s the only reason older folks biff it, but it is one of the reasons. I’m not suggesting getting out the stilts, though if you’d like to…

Trust me, they are way too easy to make….

Anyway, one way to test your balance (besides falling down) is to:

  1. Try standing on one foot.

  2. Try standing on the other foot. (I seem to have better balance on my right side, than my left.)

  3. Now try to push up onto your toes of your left foot and then your right foot. Now do that eight times.

Did you keep your balance? If you did, yay you. If you didn’t, doing that simple exercise every day will help you reacquire some of your balance. You can also buy a Wii, then WiiFit and do their balance exercises. (They are pretty fun, but it requires you to sign in to be lectured by a computer.)

So that’s my helpful, health tip for maybe forever. We’ll see if I think of another one. And no, I didn’t think of this one because I face planted. Recently.

So, how about you? Are you keeping your balance? Shocked to find you haven’t? Done anything fun that almost killed you? I love comments. Comment and you’re entered into my monthly $10 AnaBanana Gift Card of Perfect Balance (yeah, I made that up). Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk

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p style=”text-align: left;”>Perilously (now you know why I sign off that way!),

Pauline

Keeping My Balance

10 thoughts on “Keeping My Balance

  • September 25, 2012 at 4:02 am
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    I was surprised when we got a wiii console and the wii fit game–it shows you where you’re balancing–that I didn’t have perfect balance. (I wasn’t really surprised!) Stilts and I would not make a good team. LOL.

    • September 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm
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      Yeah, the WiiFit humbled me, too. Nothing quite like getting lectured by a small, perfect Mii. LOL! At least the balance exercises are fun to do. I guess I just assumed my balance would always be with me. Didn’t know it took practice to keep ti.

    • September 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm
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      I have an ankle that I broke some years ago, Janice and I had to hold onto to something and slowly build it up so I could do it. It is so worth it to work on the ankles and the balance. When you read about all the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” horror stories! I do my balances while I’m brushing my teeth. 🙂

  • September 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm
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    Never tried the stilt method, but my balance hasn’t really faltered much. I can still stand on either foot and keep it. I have done my fair share of jumping off a swing in mid-air. 🙂

    • September 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm
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      That’s great, Gilliad, now keep practicing! Okay, don’t need stilts but do regular balance checks. It is a shock when it suddenly goes away!

  • September 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm
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    I’ve been a klutz all my life, even when I was a child, so while the others were playing with stilts, I was sidelined, watching, cheering them on. But nowadays, with the meds I’m on, just walking from Point A to Point B without toppling is a real adventure.

    • September 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm
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      It can be challenging! Hubby takes a lot of meds, too. When he had hip replaced, they had him doing these basic balance exercises, too. I broke my ankle five seven years ago and have to work to keep that one strong enough now. Growing old is SO fun. (grin)

  • September 24, 2012 at 11:50 am
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    Lately my balance has been off, thanks for the tips on maybe getting some of it back! I never tried stilts, but I have jumped off the swings and gone sailing through the air as a kid – I remember those days well. 🙂

    • September 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm
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      Oh the days of sailing through the air! Sigh. I didn’t realize I was having balance problems until I read this book that I have since lost, but still remember the exercises. It talked some about balance and how falling problems can be avoided, or reduced if we keep practicing it. Strength can also be built, which was comforting.

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