This week, the Diva challenged everyone to draw a tangle using their non-dominant hand. This was, admittedly, a bit frustrating. It’s so much easier to control a pen with my usual hand. The results are a lot better, too.
|The Diva's Challenge #373|
On the other hand, it reminded me of something that’s been on my mind off and on for several years. We don’t know what the future holds for us. More specifically, we don’t know what capacities we may lose as time goes by.
What if I lost the use of my right (dominant) hand? I would have to use the other hand to draw. It’s good to know that I can manage some sort of drawing with my left, if I have to. But it would be very distressing, nonetheless, as so many of my hobbies involve work with my hands.
Most of my hobbies also involve my eyes. So I ask myself, if I couldn’t see very well, what would I do for entertainment? I like music, but it isn’t a big part of my life. I could still listen to books, thankfully, though I find listening to books slow and rather frustrating since I can’t flip back easily to check earlier details. (This is especially awkward for mysteries.) I could still go for walks and I could still enjoy gardening to some degree, since I’ve always been interested as much in the scents of plants as in their appearance.
Other people have different hobbies that require different capacities. For people who love to go hiking or rafting, being unable to use their arms or legs well would take away a source of joy. Other people would hate to lose music. And for people who love to cook, losing their sense of taste would also mean losing a favorite activity—how can you enjoy cooking a new recipe if you can’t taste it?
My point is that I would be wise to cultivate some hobbies that don’t use exactly the same capacities that most of my other hobbies do. Maybe I should cultivate more large-motor activities, in case my fine-motor skills deteriorate some day. Maybe I should take more of an interest in music, or in conversation, in case my eyes give me trouble.
There is also the possibility that some day my cognitive skills will deteriorate (may that day be FAR away.) I will still have time to fill. Perhaps, in that case, familiar, simple tasks would be soothing.
What might these be? Knitting an endless scarf in garter stitch? Doing simple jigsaw puzzles? Peeling potatoes, maybe, as I remember Grandpere doing when he was no longer capable of cooking on his own? It seemed to me that he felt better when he was contributing in some way. Perhaps I should find out what activities people can generally manage in this situation and cultivate some of them. You can’t peel potatoes automatically if you haven’t peeled a whole lot of potatoes beforehand with attention.
Someone whose name I can’t remember came up with a chart that categorized activities as high- or low-energy, and high or low in sociability. His point (I think it was a he) was that people should cultivate some activities that fall into each of these four groups. Sometimes people’s energy levels will be low, in which case reading (low sociability) and doing jigsaw puzzles with other people (high sociability) might be good options. Or their energy levels might be fine, but there aren’t a lot of people to do things with, so they need some activities they can do by themselves, like going for a walk.
The recommendation was aimed at older people, but when you think about it, it’s a good idea at any age. I’m suggesting here that it just doesn’t go far enough.
Till next post.