I found a new seated exercise routine on-line and decided to give it a go. The instructor was a young man, very physically fit, who knew his audience would be those who were in wheelchairs or those who by accident or age needed to do a good workout while sitting down. It was a hard routine and I wasn't used to the rhythms of it so I was struggling a bit to keep up. Then, in the cool down, he was leading viewers through stretches.
It was here that he gave a bit of a lecture. He talked about the point of the exercises was to gain strength and flexibility to enhance our ability to participate in the running of our lives. Why work to reach up in an exercise class never to reach up and put a cup away in the real world?
The fact is that when you have a disability, it's easy to let your life slip into other people's hands. It's quicker for them to mop up, so they do it. It's easier for them to do the laundry, so they do it. Sometimes it's not about the disability it's about the lack of expectation and the sense of charity that comes with doing 'for' someone.
All this was in my mind and I turned from my desk to look into the kitchen.
There were dishes piled up waiting for Joe to do them. Well, in fact there are things I can't do because of my disability but dishes aren't on that list. I shut down the video and rolled into the kitchen and put paid to the stack of dishes needing doing. I could put everything away except what was on the upper shelves.
When Joe came home, he was in a bit of a shock. All he had to do was take the cups and plates and put them into the cupboards, pots, pans and cutlery was all put away.
It felt good.
Like I'd made a contribution.
I think I have to stand on guard not to give over the tasks of my life to another. I think family and staff supporting someone with a disability needs to do the same. Each of us in our lives have tasks that are suited to our hands only. And sometimes those tasks are what seems mundane. But they aren't, no favours are done for those who are done for.
What I'm telling you that I did an exercise programme on the computer and then I did another round in the kichen.