At 68, I’ve gone from 5’4″ tall to 5’3″. It happens with women. As you can appreciate, I’ve had to reach and reach for things all my life. I’ve compensated by having taller daughters and now a daughter-in-law, and I’ve found that a spaghetti stirrer and a soup ladle can be very handy, too. That often requires quick responses when something comes falling off the top shelf. Fortunately, my reflexes are still pretty good. I’m a good catcher. (Yes, sometimes I have to grab a stool, especially when I’m searching for something or reorganizing the cupboard.)

This has had it’s embarrassing moments. My tall daughter #1 will often pull something off a higher shelf and point out to me that it’s 4 years out of date! Well, at least she’s helping me clean out my cupboards.

It’s amusing how babies start reaching only a few days after birth, at first aimlessly, just figuring out they have arms, but then they get more purposeful. “Oh, that’s mom,” or “Ouch, it hurts when I scratch my face.” As they grow, clumsy efforts to capture a Cheerio rapidly move on to “more”, and grabbing things off the table. Power comes with reaching, and they’re found a way to get some of what they want.


Reaching — especially the stretching part — reminds me of what it takes to achieve a goal. Sometimes you make it, and sometimes you have to ask for help, but having goals is important to moving ahead. Of course, when you reach the end of your rope, you’re in trouble, but take the advice of Franklin Roosevelt, and “tie a knot in it and hang on.” I think too of the line from “The River” sung by Garth Brooks where he compares a river to a dream: “…I will sail my vessel / ‘Til the river runs dry / Like a bird upon the wind /These waters are my sky / I’ll never reach my destination / If I never try / So I will sail my vessel
‘Til the river runs dry…” So reaching is often striving, pushing, extending, and sometime succeeding. Where the strength comes from to continue is all inside, so continuous stretching strengthens not just our bodies, but our minds and souls.