Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So, I Took a Walk Yesterday

That isn't such a big deal.  I took a walk the day before too.  With a friend.  At about 2:30 in the afternoon.   The big deal is that I took one of those things I've been meaning to do and did it.  I don't know about you and your life, but in my life, I seem to see significant changes every half year or so.  One of my more recent changes is in my sleep patterns.  I fall asleep pretty early most nights, sometimes waking up in the insomniac time zones of the night only to realize the reason I'm awake is because I've already gotten enough sleep.  Seven hours is seven hours whether you wake at 7:00am or 4:00am.  For a week or two now I have felt twitchy.  It's as if my body is trying to tell me I have been neglecting it.  I keep hearing friends who talk about morning walks.  They sound really good, but the time always seems to slip away leaving me once again ready for bed without having ever taken that walk.

Not only did I take a walk, by myself, but I took it at 6:30am.

For the first three blocks I was still on the fence as to whether I wanted to walk or not.  The air was cold enough I was still a bit chilly even in my sweat clothes.  I had only walked by my neighbor's house before my left foot felt like I had extended it too far and I had a sharp pain in the arch.  I usually wear Chuck's.  If I'm not in my slip on Converse shoes, I'm probably barefoot.  I've never understood how shoes I essentially "live in" can suddenly become uncomfortable just because I do something a little out of the normal like take a walk or go to a convention or a theme park.  I kept walking.

Three more blocks and I'm off my street.  I told myself two blocks ago the only reason my left foot hurt is because I'm focusing my attention on it.  Think of something else.  Listen to the birds.  I can feel the cool air in my throat and bronchial passage.  I'm unsettled by my breathing becoming a bit more labored and I struggle with my inner critical voice who decides now would be a good time to tell me I'm a loser who never works out and who looks like a potato.  My right foot starts to hurt.  I keep walking.

Three more blocks.  Whether they are now successfully "warmed up" or "stretched out," neither foot hurts anymore.  I'm far enough now that going back home and "forgetting this ever happened" is no longer an option.  If I cave in and quit early, I will remember.  If I succeed and finish my planned route, I will remember.  I keep walking.

I walk through the exhaust stream of a car warming up just before I pass my friend's house.  My route is roughly based on our walks together.  Just past her house is the half way mark.  Neither foot hurts and I have warmed up enough that my sweatshirt seems almost unnecessary.  I've been walking a slightly wider, more busy street on the border of my neighborhood, now I turn and head into the interior streets.  Immediately I notice it is even quieter.  It is almost as if I am the only person awake.  I feel almost like an intruder.  Except for another empty car left running to warm it up, the only other life present is a cat trying to keep warm at the end of a driveway and a crow who seems to want to chase me off his street with his persistent cawing.  I pull out my phone, take a picture of the cat and a tree I admire in one of the front yards, and continue walking.

Three more blocks.  I'm closer to home than not, but on a different street than I usually use when in my car.  Nothing hurts.  I'm feeling good and I'm taking in the scenery as I pass it.  My inner voice, no longer trying to abuse me, is full of "that house is a pretty color" or "I wonder when they added the extended porch to that house."  After another three blocks, my confidence is high, I feel almost like a veteran walker and I can see my house in the distance.

Walking up the steps to my house, I picture myself flopping into a chair and relaxing.  As I open the front door, my cat, an even greater creature of habit than myself, is startled by the unusual activity and puffs twice his size.  (The front door at my house doesn't usually open before 8am and that is usually after he has requested it verbally in a variety of meows.)  Honestly, I don't remember what I did next.  I know it wasn't flop in a chair.  I kept active.  I kept moving.  A certain momentum had begun and I seemed reluctant to let it end.  What I do remember was how my legs felt the rest of the day.  Relaxed, moving smoothly, gracefully.  They felt happy about the morning's events.

I think that's how change works.  You have to fight past your natural resistances.  Your ego/mind wants to protect you and will sling a bunch of abuse at you to discourage you.  It can't see any dangers in your comfort zone.  It doesn't know that living your life with box-like limitations is very .....  well ..... limiting.  If you can distract yourself long enough to get past the initial discomfort and internal naysaying, you surprise yourself by doing things you've never done before.  Frequently with ease.  You might even actually enjoy yourself.  Still, for awhile, the next time will require the same effort.  It will require remembering how good my legs felt rather than thinking how cold the air feels or that my left foot has started the journey unhappy again.  I know too that, if I can keep this up for four weeks, at the end of that time I will be a walker.  It will become a habit.  At this point, it is mine to decide whether I want it or not.  I'm a big believer in occasionally assessing "what do I want out of life?" and then going out and getting it.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'd like to take a walk.

No comments:

Post a Comment