Mountains and Molehills

I went for a walk this morning for the first time since I retired six months ago.  At the very time when I had the time to go walking I stopped walking.  When you have all the time in the world, time disappears.  When there are no obsticles in your way it’s easy to invent some.  It’s too early; it’s too late; it’s too cold; it’s too hot; there is too much traffic on the road.  It’s dangerous in the misty morning.  There is something I want to watch on the news.  I can’t fnd my walking shoes.  It’s slippery underfoot.  There’s no fruit to take with me.  I have no apple for the horses.  Where is my asthma puffer?  Best of all perhaps and the most frequently used is “I will do it tomorrow”.

I am sure I must have thought of hundreds more excuses.  It’s easy to make mountains out of molehills, especially when you don’t really want to do something but you feel you should.

Three miles today felt like 30 miles and the slight hill half way around the walk seemed like the north face of the Eiger.  It took me longer than in the past and by the time I got back home, my legs ached a bit and I was hot and tired.  But these thoughts were dwarfed by a real sence of achievement.

As we get older it is not difficult to see more and more barriers rising before us as our age advances.  Excuses are more frequently found and “taking it easy” can become your watchword.  Molehills can quickly become mountains, if we want them to.

Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to see many older people belying their age and overcoming adversity in their lives.  Achieving things they never imagined they could do.  From pottery to poetry; gambling in Las Vegas to walking on the Great Wall of China; from swimming with sharks to skiing with Eddie the Eagle, climbing and abseiling rock walls at an outward bound centre in Exmoor to looping the loop in a glider at 93.  Over the years at ExtraCare, I have been priviliged to see literally hundreds of elderly people with every kind of frailty overcome their age and apprehensions to conquer amazing new challenges in later life.

Let’s carry on turning mountains into molehills and then there will be no more excuses left for me.

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2 Responses to Mountains and Molehills

  1. Jon Cleaver says:

    I too have witnessed the many wonderful achievements of our elders including the lady who looped-the-loop in a glider at 93. Adeline Ablitt, an inspiration to any younger older person. I had the privilege of interviewing the lady on several occasions including writing her life story for our magazine Extralife. A former school teacher from Birmingham, Adeline was only about 4ft 8, with an eight foot span of personality.

    On the night of November 14 1940 Coventry was bombed. Adeline watched as people fled from the City Centre to the outskirts. Adeline took charge. In the early hours of the morning, she formed an orderly group and marched them to into the countryside to a little pub, woke up the landlord and asked if he would take the people in to safety. She then spent the next couple of hours cycling to the farms in the area collecting milk for the children. Adeline was aged 36.

    As Adeline grew older she was determined to continue an active life she eventually moved into an ExtraCare scheme. Her impact was immediate, staff and other residents were inspired by her. It was the meeting of two great forces, Adeline and ExtraCare. Adeline went on to be written into the Guinness Book of Records, by looping-the-loop in a Glider. Aged 103 Adeline said to the manager of the scheme “I would like to ride a horse.” It was arranged for Adeline to go to an outward bound centre, in Devon. Not only did she ride a horse, she also paddled a canoe, and abseiled. Pictures were taken of this amazing lady in action, which along with the story appeared on a double page spread in the local Coventry Telegraph. Adeline died in October 2007 and right to the end she would take charge of the morning exercise classes she attended every day.

    This story may be unique, but it has inspired many older people to realise that they can do so much more in later life. So Adeline created many hills, mole or otherwise, all we need is the will to seek out the hill for us and bingo!

    PS Not forgotten, Adeline’s name cropped up in an article written in the Good House-keeping magazine in March 2011, by Sandi Toksvig, where she is discussing her very active mother Sandi says: “Or how about Adeline Ablitt? In 1998, she became the oldest person to loop-the-loop in a glider aged 95. And she didn’t slow down after that- going canoeing and horse riding at an outward-bound centre when she was, you guessed it, 103.

    Jon Cleaver

  2. Really enjoyed reading this John and Jon… And, as a procrastinator, I shall consider my weaknesses and try to take more metaphorical walks. If I can help you publicize the Blog John, do let me know. All the best, Michael M

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