What Ever Happened to Walking?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been running for 45 years. I started when I was 13. Although I was lucky enough to have everything that I needed growing up, I started working a full-time job in the summer to buy the things that I WANTED. I worked all through college – sometimes part-time and sometimes full-time – again to be able to do and go and buy what I wanted. And then I started my “real jobs” and basically worked full-time, raised two kids and did the typical suburban thing. When my dad was unable to live alone, he lived with us and I replaced caring for children with caring for my father. Running seemed to be the only speed that there was.
I retired about 2 years ago, but filled my life with remodeling a house to suit my dad’s dwindling mobility and caring for him. When he died last July, I finally stopped running. Stopping my running has been hard in a way. I sometimes feel that I am adrift. I know that there are things that I could do, maybe even should do, but more days than not, I seem to be unable to do them. I sometimes feel that my life has only two speeds; run and stop.
But whatever happened to walking?
Walking is touted as one healthy activity that most people can do. I spent a better part of 15 years reminding boys to walk not run in the house. Walking can be incorporated into meditation. Walking can get you from one place to another. So why don’t I walk more? Why does there always seem to be a race to get somewhere quicker when I’m not always sure where “there” is and I am often less sure that “there” is where I really want to be.
And maybe the real question is that of “there”. The common wisdom is that “life is the journey and not the destination”, but no one seems to believe it. Maybe this is because everyone seems to be running and while running the journey is such a blur that we are pinning our hopes on that fact that the destination will be worth the trouble.
I am learning to walk more in my life. Yes, this means literally walking as in the dogs every afternoon, but also slowing down in other parts of my life. I am starting to cook for lunch as well as dinner when I want. I am taking time to have long phone (or FaceTime or Zoom) calls with friends to see what they are up to. I am planning trips, not to see sights or add another state/country to my tally of places, but to see family and friends.
Only having to commit to walking is getting me out of my stop. I am adding a third speed and it seems easier to motivate myself to walk. It is not sexy or glamorous as running, but it is movement, and who knows what I will find along the way. Won’t you join me?