The "Big Reset" when Helping Someone when in need

In the begin of this week about to end, I went, as I usually do, for groceries on a nearby supermarket with my bike. On the return home, an elderly couple was trimming the bushes ....

In the begin of this week about to end, I went, as I usually do, for groceries on a nearby supermarket with my bike.
I did my shopping, and on the return home, an elderly couple was trimming the bushes at the front of their home. On passing by the elderly woman, she turned to me while saying out loud “…hulp?“ . Well, she actually said more things, but my limited understanding of Dutch from last year Dutch classes, “hulp“ was the only thing I could understood. It took me a few seconds for me to understand her, so I continue pedalling to turn back asking if she understood English. She said “yes, a little”. And this is how the conversation started with them.

It was early in the morning, sunny and calm. We talked for some minutes. Got the opportunity to answer the traditional question “where are you from?“ which I replied “do you know Oporto wine?“. Trimming was mostly done, so they asked me if I could help them pickup the trimmed parts and put it on plastics bags. And so I did all of it. And it wasn’t all that much. 5 meters of bush fence or so.

On the way back home, I began thinking about what just happened and what it means, today, in the midst of all this readily available and free knowledge on the internet. Common sense, says actions like this are accepted as noble actions, to help someone, special an elderly person. Is socially accepted as the thing to do whether if one’s looking to “score the girl“ or “score on the curriculum“.

However those who known me personally, know, I like to infer on such automata rational and social decisions just to see if validity is still….well …valid. And it’s not.

In reality they where the ones helping me with something really simple: move my body in an unexpected situation and unexpected work activity

Yes, you read it correctly. They, the elderly couple, where the ones that helped me. Spite of asked for my help. Lets rewind what happened when I was picking the bush trims. Both showed signs of difficulty on walking. slow steps, and slow arms motion during interaction. Don’t get me wrong, verbal interaction was fine. Motion was not. The curved backs told me they were spending too much time sitting. The slow arms and legs motion told me they repeating too much the same motion patterns on daily tasks, including the one of sitting for prolonged periods of time. This combination, makes muscles not used, more weak and in turn muscles used on any of those daily motion patterns to work harder and in turn be more stiff. Result, slow arms and legs, during any motion.

So if I was there with intention to help, what I should had done, was to simply hold the trash bag, while they hand picked the trimmed bushes from the floor. And in the end, some relaxing and stretching exercises would do really good to them. It would took longer. But only this way, the elderly couple could rebalance the imbalances on muscular tension due to too much inactivity and also due to standardized activities. This will made them feel a bit more tired, but also more relaxed and less tense. If and only if, some simple relaxation exercises were made at the end.

But that was not what happened at all. In reality, they stood practically still, waiting for me to pickup all the bush trims, while I was the one forcing my body to get out of the routine, forcing my muscular system to rebalance internal muscular tension while I made conversation with them. And don’t forget, next, followed a bike ride all the way home. And they, went again into their home, with all repeating patterns it holds inside.

By the time I arrived home, the initial good feelings about helping someone were replaced by another kind of feeling. One of self interest . One more individualistic. Next time, you the reader, when facing the same situation or similar, of helping someone, I recommend more than just a small conversation, and do instead some observation and assessment on what really needs to be helped. For on this particular case, it wasn’t the trim bushes on the ground floor. Those were just an excuse to make the elderly couple get out of their tedious routine. And in that sense, I failed really poorly. ”Live and learn” that is what I usually say. The wheel of life. Everyday.

It’s Saturday, it’s sunny on a well-deserved weekend. Don’t forget a long walk in a nearby park. To relearn what is nature, in particular, to remember how sunlight feels in different ways…other than ones on YouTube relaxation videos!

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