87-year-old Flo Shares Dangers of Multi-tasking

Note from Arden Moore, founder of Four Legged Life: For the past decade, I’ve been blessed to have an ageless neighbor named Flo Frum. Even though she is 87, she possesses the energy and can-do-it attitude that would make even Betty White feel tire. I share this essay Flo wrote to her senior citizen writing class about her painful lesson in trying to do too much too quickly. Her words serve as a reminder to all of us at any age to take time to converse and appreciate one-on-one interactions.

Flo writes it best — here is her take on the dangers of multi-tasking!

The always-busy Flo with her-always barky Buddy and one of her fabulous quilts.

I have always been multitasking. Now I don’t recommend this to everyone, but for me it has served me well. That is until last Friday afternoon. But first let me tell you just how this multitasking came about. I have always been a person that had only one speed, and that was full speed ahead. In my youth I could do more in a morning than most people could in a week. I am not bragging just trying to say I never was known to slow down.


My children have cautioned me often, with “Mother, stop rushing.” I walk fast – well, I used to walk a lot faster — but I think I have slowed down quite a bit. Why I am in a hurry is beyond me, and I have found it very difficult to do less and sit more.


My son has taken all my garden tools away so I won’t go digging in the yard. Our back yard is a large hill leading up to the park, and years ago my husband had steps made so we could work on the hill with easy access. Well not any more, again, my dear son removed the steps from the lower level and now I can only look with dismay at all the weeds growing but can not get over the wall without a stepladder, and God Forbid I even think of doing that because with my luck I would fall, and then have to listen to, “Mother, I told you so”!


Having portable phones has been great for a multitasker. I can talk on the phone, empty the dishwasher; fold clothes, tidy up a room and even make my bed. I have been know to load the washing machine, empty the trash, let the dog out or better yet, fill his water bowls, and still carry on a conversation. There was very little I could not do while talking on the phone. That is until Charlotte called me last Friday. I was doing my thing, you know folding clothes, putting them in my drawer and when all done, I left my bedroom, still talking on the phone.


I lost my balance and with nothing to hold on to, I went crashing down to the floor. Unfortunately, the phone went flying, my head hit the wall and I saw stars. Lots of them. The pain in my head was almost overpowering, but as I had the phone close, I dialed my friend, Judi at her office, and told her I had just fallen, and just wanted to clear my head. The phone peeped as I was talking and I connected with the new caller, and it was Charlotte checking if everything was all right. I told her I had fallen but was OK and would call her back. Judi said that she was coming right home and to stay where I was. Well, not one to just lay on the floor I got up and went into the den and sat down on my recliner. I admit I walked very slowly, and felt uncomfortable.


Judi soon arrived and with an ice bag on the back of my head I felt all right. Not great, but better than I thought possible. Now the doorbell was ringing and with Buddy, my miniature Schnauzer, barking like mad Judi opened the door to greet Charlotte who was worried that I might need help. Buddy gave her his usual greeting; you know barking like mad and no one able to hear a thing but him.


I realized what a hardheaded person I really am when I saw the dent in the wall where I hit my head. I vowed right then to change my ways. Both of my shoulders are black and blue, and my neck was so stiff I could hardly turn my head. Thank goodness all aches and pains have left and I have taken a good look at my problem with multitasking.


I realize the time has come to listen to those that have cautioned me, and when the phone rings to sit down and enjoy the caller’s conversation. Not an easy thing for me to do, but the thought of falling again, is frightening, and perhaps I would not be so lucky if it happens again. Are there any household tasks worth risking my health for? I think not, and if I want to live to be 100, I will. Give up multitasking, slow down and take time to smell the roses.


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