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"Keep on keepin' on"

Although walking is increasingly challenging, and my arthritic knees pile on the hurt, I am determined to do whatever it takes to “keep on keepin’ on.” This includes taking my physical therapist’s advice to use a “walking aid” to more safely navigate the hilly, uneven terrain while vacationing in Sedona, AZ. She first recommended a cane, but backed off when she saw a look of horror come over my face. “Maybe you would prefer a walking stick or trekking poles, like hikers use?”

Who is she trying to fool? I’m a shopper, not a hiker, and I’ve yet to see my fellow shoppers making their way through art galleries and jewelry stores on trekking poles. “For me, those are nothing more than fashionable, expensive canes,” I told my therapist. She knew better than to engage me further, but couldn’t resist firing a parting shot over the bow. “Wouldn’t you rather use a walking stick to give yourself more stamina for shopping than go without one and risk falling?”

That was a difficult argument to rebut, especially knowing that Jean has fallen several times (see Balance). I decided to look on line to see what kind of walking aids were available. The first link I clicked on was for the Bull Organ Walking Cane, handcrafted by a taxidermist from the penis of a large breeding bull. It is said to represent stamina and power, but I couldn’t see myself walking around town with it.


Sheryl walking with a stick

In the end, I chose the least attractive, least expensive walking stick I could find. No exotic woods in unique colors and patterns that make a statement like artistic jewelry. I’m making my own statement – this walking stick will soon be relegated to a closet.

My position has become less defiant as my walking stick has carried me through several art fairs I otherwise would not have been able to complete. I’ve come to see that using devices that make our lives easier and prolong our independence is plain old common sense, not a sign of surrender.

My initial resistance to using a walking stick stemmed from not wanting others to see me as vulnerable, sick, or old. Gradually I realized that how we see ourselves affects how others see us. We have the power to create our desired public image by emphasizing what we believe in and stand for rather than focusing on what we look like and how we move.sheryl signature



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blogger partner WPC 2016 in Portland