10, 9…10, 9…8, 9…8…9
You may be wondering why I am counting out of order and starting off my entry with some random numbers. Well, this is the way I talk to myself when I walk.
I’m not exactly sure when it first started. Maybe a couple of years ago, but I think more than that.
You see, I have to think about every step I take. If I don’t think before I walk I tend to lose my balance and fall over, which isn’t such a good thing and it can lead to external and internal (ego) bruises. The less falls, the better I say.
Anyway, somewhere along the way I started to count numbers in my head as a way to keep me motivated and focused. And amazingly it works most of the time. It started off with 1 and finishing with 10, but now, for some reason, I am down to 10, 9 or 8, 9. This keeps me extremely focused on a two step movement, especially when I am walking up or down a hill.
It’s a safety system I’ve set up and I think at one point I told one of my doctors and they said keep it up if it works.
It may sound like a good plan, and it is on a simple level, but then I have to take into consideration the environment around me: a crack in the footpath, a piece of rubbish in the way or a gusty wind trying to push me forward or back. Then I might be talking to a person and get caught up in the conversation, so the numbers fade away and I lose focus. Or I might have something on my mind.
The list of distractions is endless, so I won’t bore you with any details. The reason why I am writing this entry is that it’s been a year of thinking. Lots of stuff has been on my mind and most of it happens when I am on my own walking along the street. This very morning when I got out the car and made my way to work I was thinking about something and so the numbers weren’t there to keep me going. Funnily enough I didn’t fall and I survived the walk. More importantly, when I was in New York I did a lot of thinking and AMAZINGLY I had no major falls.
Sorry if this entry is boring for you, but I wanted to write it because I want you all to know what it’s like for a person with a disability and how hard the smallest thing, like walking half a block, can be.
So, when you pass me by on the street, don’t be surprised if I jump a little or topple over, just yell out 10, 9 and I’ll get back on track.