Getting there is what it’s all about! How we get there is the question. Whenever I am in the Bay area, I am always eager to visit a concert, a play or a museum. I had read about two new exhibits at the de Young museum. One was of the artifacts of the Olmecs, people of central Mexico, whose civilization pre-dates the Incas and Aztecs by many centuries. There was also the exhibit of the famous fashions by Balenciaga, the Spanish designer.
“Are you up to all the walking that’s involved?” my family asked. “And there’s no telling how close we can park.” “Oh, I need to walk”. And I did. (I am still relatively robust at the age of 93, but do walk with a cane, when I think of it.) We walked through the parking garage and up a ramp and then stood in line to get tickets. The Olmec exhibit was marvelous and I was so happy that I got to see it. But I was more than ready to sit down as we left that part of the museum. But there was so much more to see and my daughter particularly wanted to see the Balenciagas.
“Do you think there is a way to get a wheelchair?” I asked, much to my family’s surprise. “You know, I hesitated to suggest it” said my son. “Sit right there while we get one and I’ll be more than happy to push you as long as you like.” So I got to see the Balenciagas and then the Impressionists and other galleries. It was a real highlight of my trip to the Bay Area. Once the wheelchair was returned,I had no trouble walking out of the museum and into the parking garage, and I was able to enjoy going out for dinner afterwards.
To my surprise, I found being in a wheelchair liberating! I was able to give my full attention to the exhibits; didn’t hold up the others with my slowness, nor having to look for a place to sit. What is more, my family didn’t have to worry that I might fall in the jostling crowd. Why do so so many of my fellow elders think that their life will be over if they are no longer able to walk? Is needing a walker tantamount to giving up? Of course, there are plusses and minuses of being confined to a wheelchair (which I was not). Obviously, not everyone has a son who is able to push them around and the alternative, motorized wheel chair, is not within everyone’s budget.
However, the lesson I learned was that there are compromises that can be made. We may not be able to do all the things that we did thirty years ago,or even a year ago. But, being able to see the plusses and not dwelling on the minuses, is the secret. One that I wanted to share with you.