Walking Backwards

“Nobody gets to live life backward.
Look ahead that’s where your future lies.
Ann Landers (pen name of Columnist Ruth Crowley)  1907-1955

When I was growing up, my Grandmother (who seemed so very ancient then, even though she died in her 60s) always walked down the stairs backwards.  This seemed in no way unusual to us. We had only ever seen her descending in this way.  And even now, I have no idea of why she did so.  Was she scared to look ahead and maybe lose her footing?

Over the past few weeks I have found myself looking back, sometimes more than looking forward.  There are many things in my life to look back on with pleasure, with gratitude and yes, also with longing.  So am I scared to look ahead in case I lose my footing?

Looking back doesn’t really solve any problems for any of us.  We only have today.  And we have all heard the quote – “Yesterday is the past; tomorrow is the future; today is the present.  So use it as a gift.”  I don’t know when or where I first heard that but it is so very true.  And I wonder who penned it originally.

And we know that today really is the first day of the rest of your life.  Here in New Zealand the clocks go forward an hour tomorrow, so summer is officially here.  Hooray!

“Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them and they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire (French Poet)

20 responses to “Walking Backwards

  1. Good post for me today as I am looking toward the future definitely since it’s my birthday. 🙂


  2. Poem reminds me of Jesus beckoning Peter to walk on water


  3. “There is so much on offer for each of us, if only we have the courage to grab it.”

    Thanks for the reminder!


  4. THis reminds me of a story my sister told me last week. She walks with a neighbor who is probably in her 70’s, a good twenty years older than my sister and friend. This lady wlaks circles around them on their daily walks…she walks a good portion backwards and drops them off and redoes the walk they just did…and then proceeds to teach yoga afterwards!


  5. I imagine coming downstairs backwards calls upon a very different set of skills in moving our bodies through time and space.

    Those brain neurons would be firing in a very different pattern. Interesting post Judith.


    • Hi Lynley. It never seemed strange that she walked down backwards and we never thought to ask. Must try it sometime when nobody is looking althugh yesterday I managed to fall up a step. Not looking where Iput my feet! 🙂


  6. One of my granddaughters was showing me how she can walk backward up the stairs today. I tried it, for two or three steps. I think walking backward down them would be better. I’ve spent most of my years looking forward, avoiding the past. Since starting my blog, I’ve forced myself to look back and find some of the good memories.


    • Hi Patti. I have so many great memories that I can’t help looking back on them. But we also have to look to the future.
      I don’t think walking backwards up the stair would be very easy but my grandma made walking down backwards look easy. 🙂


  7. I walk backwards on the stairs as it gives relief to my joint pain. Knees dont stress out while climbing down!


  8. Hi pleased to meet you. I had never heard of anyone else walking backwards on the stairs. I have just been over to your blog. I shall return often to see how/what you are doing. 🙂


  9. Maybe your Grandmother was afraid of heights ?
    A few years ago I had to change my normal glasses for varifocals, it was really strange comming downstairs at first, imagine only being able to see your feet through reading glasses. We soon adapt, I don’t even look down when I do the stairs now, I just kick my foot out and swing it back onto the front of the one I’m already on before I put it down. Usually works. 😀


    • Yes, I had similar problems adjusting to my varifocals, exacerbated by the fact that this was the first time I wore glasses all the time. Prior to that it was just for reading. But as humans we are very adaptable. 🙂


  10. I have an aunt Judith who descends stairs backwards. Even though her sight is excellent ( still does not need glasses) she has a problem with depth perception and will lose her footing if she tries face forward.


  11. Pingback: Come To the Edge | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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