A Guide to Understanding the Challenges with Various Aspects of Mobility
By Tom Seest
How Would Your Life Change If You Lost Your Mobility?
Personally, I had never considered this question. I’ve always had physical mobility. Even though I once weighed close to 600 pounds, I still felt like I had physical mobility. I had many limitations, but I was generally able to take care of and provide for my own needs. I could do most things even though I generally did them much slower than most. But, recently, at the ripe age of 56, I had my first substantial fall and was forced to consider how mobile I was in my life. And, I was forced to consider how important mobility is in my life.
What would happen if you lost your ability to move around easily tomorrow? What if you couldn’t perform simple tasks like using the restroom or getting ready for bed? What if you couldn’t go shopping for and cook food? What would happen if you couldn’t stand up and walk each time you wanted to?
I encourage you to read on and consider these things, because, as I can testify, it can easily happen to you.
What Is Physical Mobility?
Physical mobility refers to the capacity of an individual to move around in their current environment as needed. The absence of mobility is often a result of aging, a physical disability, a current physical limitation, or specific mental conditions, and all can be a vital factor in limiting individuals to live their lives more narrowly when it comes to their daily activities, social interactions, and work interactions.
My personal loss of physical mobility started within milliseconds of falling while exiting a shower at a hotel while on vacation. In the mere seconds that I fell, I knew that my life would be altered: at least for awhile. I managed to tear my quadriceps tendon in my right leg and lost my ability to bend that leg. I had to start by learning to crawl and shuffle forward, just to get into a position where they could pick me up and take me to the hospital. I was fortunate as this was my only injury during that moment, but it has caused me to give more thought to this new challenge in my life.
How would your life change tomorrow if you lost your ability to move around freely? What changes would you have to make to your living and work spaces to meet this new challenge? While I’m not here to answer these specific questions, I’m here to motivate you to consider them as you continue to get older and your risk levels rise.
Do You Have Income Mobility?
People generally think of Income Mobility as the ability to make your income rise and fall as needed, based on your circumstances. But, I want to challenge you to think of it in a different way.
Do you have to go somewhere to earn and maintain your income? Could you work from your bed and earn income if you had to? Could you earn income during an extended hospital stay if you had to? Or, does your career choice and job require a physical presence with physical demands that would be impossible to maintain without physical mobility?
God has blessed me with the opportunity to work remotely for many years, and I’ve only missed about thirty hours of work to date around hospital visits, doctors appointments, and recovery time.
Do You Have Asset Or Resource Mobility?
As you get older, you make more investments in things like property, business investments, and infrastructure for your living and livelihood. While you’ve transferred your income into these various assets and resources, are they things that you can easily liquidate to help you in the instant challenges you are now facing? Are you free to move on, taking these things with you, or do you have the liberty and freedom to move on after liquidating them?
Personally, I’ve been fortunate that we don’t have a lot of stuff. My family and I live in an RV, and I work in a modified shed as my office. We don’t have many things, and this would make it easier for us to pick up and move if we had to. Our situation is far than perfect by some standards, but it suits us well.
I would urge you to consider how mobile your assets and resources are, in case you’d have a new challenge that required you to quickly relocate. As times, they are changing. Are you missing new and challenging opportunities because you can’t quickly move assets and resources? Are they an anchor in your life?
Do You Have Social Mobility?
Social mobility is often thought of as the ability to change your position within a social hierarchy. As an example, a person could get promoted to upper management after years of being a line worker.
I tend to think of the nature of the relationships that I have with other people. I have established communications methods with friends, family, and acquaintances that are both physical and virtual. People that know me, realize that I like to meet in person and exchange stories and relax. I’ve done this for years. But, I also maintain active virtual relationships with many business people as well as family and relations.
Would your Social Mobility change if you suddenly lost either your physical or financial mobility? Mine has changed significantly, as only the cats really want to come visit me, which is understandable. Consider how the structure of your social interactions would be effected if your life changed today or tomorrow?
How Do You Prepare for Changes In Mobility?
I don’t believe you can. To some degree, each one of us has in some small way but, since we don’t really understand the loss of mobility until we experience it, it is difficult to prepare for it. In any case, I’ll give you some of my thoughts.
Like most things in my life, I never really understood why I was placed with certain challenges and opportunities. I’ve had the personal fortune of meeting some amazing people and have taken the opportunity to create extended relationships with many people. I’ve made every effort to be as helpful as I can be, without being too annoying (failed there many times). My family, my friends, and my extended relations have all stepped up and offered and been helpful financially, and physically as needed. While I didn’t attempt to help these people with this in mind, I had quietly built an infrastructure of friendships that I never realized would benefit me in any way. But, I’m so grateful now that I did. People have stepped forward and been so helpful in so many ways without hesitation.
I can be a pretty grumpy person if I haven’t gotten good sleep, or I’m using Microsoft products, or things simply aren’t going my way. I’m a flawed human being with a mountain of potential for personal improvement. But, I’m so grateful for every individual that has stepped up and helped in their own way. Words can and never will properly express my gratitude for each one of you. I’m so appreciative to God for the people and circumstances He placed in my life so that I learn from their examples. So many of these individuals have passed on before I had the opportunity to thank them.
For now, my personal journey has not ended. It continues at a slightly slower pace. I’ve had to make some adjustments, and I have no idea what the future holds for my physical, my financial, my income, or my resource mobility.
But, I urge you to consider all of this from a perspective of your life. Start planning now. Do what you can given what you know now of your current circumstances. And let me know if I can help you in any way.
I try to live each day, and redeem the time. I try to do the best I can given each challenge of the day. But I do fail. And I know you do too. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.
I’m going to enjoy the rest of my days on this side of the soil reminiscing about times, both good and bad. And when I ascend to my home beyond the sky, and they plant my remains below the earth, I will have done my best. Feel free to follow my ramblings at the links listed below: