Friday, January 19, 2007

How One Little Finger Changed My Life

Well, the subject is a bit misleading. I certainly haven't had any major life changes because of my finger injury. But, it has forced me into action about something I feel is a bit of a weakness on my part. I am extremely right-handed. It may sound silly to some, but I actually do find my dependence on my right hand to be a bit of a drawback for me.

I learned sometime during my university career that people are actually on a spectrum of 'sidedness'. From my understanding of it, the idea of 'sidedness' in a nutshell goes something like this: we all have a normal preference for a side to use for different things (and you can be right/left footed too). It isn't that you are hard and fast right/left handed, but you are more right-than-left or more left-than-right. Some people do fall on an extreme side for the majority of activities, but most people are closer to the centre of the spectrum. Those who are ambidextrous are very close to centre, or are left-sided for some things and right-sided for others.

My personal profile has always been a very strong right-handed tendency, although I'm a bit more equally sided for footedness and other sidedness activities (and even though I normally sleep on my right side, I think that more or less has to do with which side of the bed I sleep on). Whenever I see someone with a broken arm it makes me pause and reflect how much of a hassle it would be for me to completely lose the use of my right hand. Not to mention that I've read and believe that training yourself to do things with each of your hands (or feet for that matter) increases your overall dexterity and promotes brain growth and greater creativity.

But, like many things, its much easier to say "I'm going to start training myself to use my left hand!" than it is to actually DO that. In the past I've briefly tried to train myself to write left-handed. This was usually when I had hand-writing time in my ESL class. However, when the 6 year-olds have better writing than you do, you kind of lose your motivation.

While my recent finger injury wasn't serious enough to render my whole hand useless, it gave me enough discomfort that I actually preferred to use my left hand for some things. I wouldn't always remember at first and I did a lot of grabbing, wincing, and changing hands, but I did make a couple of substantial changes. I had to change which hand grabbed the big jugs of milk, juice, and water out of the fridge. I had to learn to brush my teeth with my left hand (this was actually particularly tricky). Plus, I had to learn to use the mouse with my left hand.

And, I think I may actually keep one of these changes around too. Since my mouse is on the other side of my keyboard, it is actually a bit more accessible to me. Less clutter builds up there. Plus, I'm a bit impatient when I'm browsing and do too much clicking. Using my left hand is slowing me down a bit, and my computer thanks me! And maybe this is just the pebble that starts the avalanche. Or, a week from now the mouse may be back on the right side again.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I can't for the life of me fathom how brushing your teeth with your left hand could be tricky . . . I do it every day! And I hate to break it to you, but some six year olds have better handwriting than you do when you're writing with your regular right hand! Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe