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  • Writer's picturePat Birnie

When, oh when will I figure this out?

I have been described as clumsy. Have we met? If so, this won't be a surprise to you. I have spent my entire life lamenting, laughing, being frustrated, and being angry about my inability to walk through a room without making contact with the hard edge of some piece of furniture. It is assumed that there will be a spilled drink when I'm around. I often wonder where that bruise came from, then I shrug. Truly though, I am tired of it. Every once in a while I "make a decision" that this will stop. I will take my time, I'll look around before making a sudden move. But here I am in my late 60's still banging into things.


In a very recent 7 day period: (warning: If you are queasy you may want to skip this section)

  • I was grating cheese and managed to let my hand slip, grating a large chunk of my thumb (don't worry it stayed attached, the cheese was okay)

  • I opened a large bottom kitchen drawer, decided to quickly step over it and cut my leg on the corner (some blood, a large bruise)

  • drying my feet after a shower I stood up quickly and hit my head hard on the corner of the counter (note: our bathroom layout has been the same for 5 years...this was not a 'new' corner)

  • While gardening, I was walking (yes, quickly) carrying a heavy bag of soil, with my head down and I walked into a large pair of gardening shears that were sitting on the walkway. (I literally impaled myself resulting in some small cuts and a nasty hole between two toes)



This last incident, which was very painful and could have been so much worse, was what inspired me to really think about why I am like this and what I can do to change it. There are definitely people who incur much more serious injuries that I do. This article had me offering up a prayer of thanks. At least I am not ending up at ER on a regular basis. There is definitely a guardian angel looking out for me!


If this accident prone nonsense is something you struggle with, keep reading! I have heard the expression "spatial awareness" (or lack thereof) and wondered if this was my issue. After doing a bit of research, it seems that lack of spatial awareness may be more extreme that what I've been experiencing. How about "dyspraxia"? That again seems somewhat extreme. The search continued; I learned about various "disorders" that can be behind this, however other signs do not line up with me.


Guess what the closing advise in the 'clumsy' article is? Slow down, plan ahead to reduce stress, do one thing at a time and pay attention to that task and that task only. Hmmmm- seems simple enough. I am giving this some serious attention going forward and will report back next month.


It seems the problem has been unearthed. It is simply distraction. In the incidents mentioned above, in every case my brain was jumping ahead to the next task at hand. With the open drawer, I remember bending over it and then thinking "OH! I need to get xxxx". With the garden shears, I was debating what to do next. All in all, perhaps the main issue is just not focusing on the task I'm doing? Once again, it's time to make a commitment to slow down, to think about what I'm doing in the moment, not what is next and to look around at my surroundings.


Also, if this accident prone nonsense is something you struggle with - please share any suggestions you may have -- I really need to hear them!


Pat xo

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Nicole MacPherson
Nicole MacPherson
Jun 13

Pat! Yikes! The gardening shears! That said I often have bruises on my legs, and I can never account for how they got there. The worst is when you are carrying something big through a doorframe and misjudge, and scrape your hand. And by "you" I mean "me" but maybe you too?

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Pat Birnie
Pat Birnie
Jun 13
Replying to

Yes the gardening shears could have definitely been so much worse! It’s over 2 weeks and my toe is still sore. And yes, doorframes always get in the way!!

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busybeesuzblog
Jun 13

Lord, I wish I had some advice, but I'm over here with a terrilbly bruised left shoulder (no idea how this happened) and a right shoulder that is hurting after a slight fall UP a stair last week. sigh I think we are just, as you said thinking of the next thing and not really paying attention to what we are doing. OY, the shears in your toe gap? My friend! You might want to consider wearing a helmet from now on. XO

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Pat Birnie
Pat Birnie
Jun 13
Replying to

Haha bruises that cannot be identified- my massage therapist just shakes her head at me. The suggestion of the helmet made me laugh out loud!

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Life of a Doctor's Wife
Life of a Doctor's Wife
Jun 12

That is quite a spate of accidents, Pat! Whew! I am definitely clumsy and always sporting a bruise (or ten) -- I feel like I misjudge doorways and bedframes and cabinet edges all the time. Maybe that's more of a spatial awareness issue though? I have had some limited luck with being very intentional about noticing when I bang into something -- like the bedframe -- so that I can remind myself next time to avoid it. I do think it helps, but it's not foolproof! And, as you note, it requires focusing on the moment at hand. I hope your new strategies help you avoid further injury!

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Pat Birnie
Pat Birnie
Jun 13
Replying to

I am working hard on being intentional. Today I had to unpack a number of boxes - this involved me bringing them up from the basement. I didn’t have a lot of time BUT I forced myself to take my time and be aware of my surroundings. I made it through the morning with zero bumps or falls!

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