The hardest thing about growing old, or at least the stage of growing old that takes place in one’s 50s, is bending over. I think I can say that in all confidence. Lots of other things suck, too: eyesight’s getting fuzzy, hearing’s going bad, can’t remember the word I want to use, my nostrils are in a race to grow bushier hair than my eyebrows.
But bending over is something I have to do dozens of times a day to tie my shoes, to scoop kibble out for the cats, to sweep dust and dirt into a pan, to empty and load the dishwasher. Each day is an endless series of calisthenics. You’d think I’d be getting better at bending over, not worse. But my hamstrings say otherwise.
Such a simple function: a fold at the waist. I can do it if I concentrate, but if I stop thinking about it for one damn second, my knees bend of their own will, I take half a step back with my right foot, and I’m genuflecting before I know it. I was raised Catholic but it didn’t take. In spite of that, the nuns would be pretty happy with the way I genuflect these days. It’s pretty much the only way I can bend all the way to the floor.
I’d like to say that the yoga classes I’ve been going to have made it easier for me to bend over, and maybe they have. Sometimes I get to feeling cocky about how much easier it seems to be, and then the instructor challenges me to do staff pose, and I realize I’m about as flexible as a block of concrete.