Walking should be therapeutic until you force yourself to walk all day. I’m a big fan of lofty goals (as you might expect), and walking fifty thousand steps in one day is lofty for me. My previous best day was about thirty-five thousand and I complained for several days afterwards that I was stupid for spending the whole day on my feet. Because, old.
Now, I make the goal and I can’t complain about the ramifications. I didn’t fully think this through until it was too late. It was cold, icy, but at least sunny. To be clear, I am a warm weather girl. I grew up in the cold of Thunder Bay, Ontario and moved to Melbourne from there where I’d run in the heat of 40 degrees Celcius. Now I’m in Toronto with its ‘moderated’ climate. I’d say ‘cold,’ most days, but that is semantics.
I want to love the solitude of walking, but my goal is in the way. It seemed a chore. Maybe that is what I took from it. Sometimes what you mean to get out of the day is not the end goal but the moments along the way. You know, journey not destination kind-of stuff.
Truthfully, if I had spent more time listening to the happy in my head buried behind the driving force that was moving my feet, the day and the following days of pain, might have transformed me somehow.
But I didn’t. So, I reflect to learn from my experiences.
I started this whole life list challenge to get things off my list. Really, that is how I get through my days so why should my life plan be any different? But it should be different. I should be stopping to appreciate the moments in my day. The ones where the kids make me laugh, the dog wants to play, or my husband just squeezes my shoulders to tell me he loves me. Instead, I spend my days waiting on the next moment to happen or planning the next great adventure (read: shopping list).
This day I just walked and walked. I stopped for lunch and to go to my tap class, which were my joys in the day, but the walking gave me nothing but grief.
The stay-at-home mum gig can lead you to believe that it is the next moment that is important. The next carpool, hot meal, the next recital. Even, the next flu bug. Those are the moments you are at home and prepared to take action. But those are also the moments that drain your energy and leave you unable to appreciate the time you can take in the day to have a cup of coffee, walk the dog less than fifty-thousand steps, looking out the window as you do the dishes even. I don’t stop to appreciate the gift of those little flashes of genius until they are gone.
Before I know it, my teenagers will be also be gone. I’ve spent years driving them, consoling them, advising them, and making sure they know they are loved. But in the moments they learned to appreciate, I need to be thankful that I can be there for them which is what I forget at times. Will I miss picking up the dirty socks off the living room floor or the dishes in their rooms? No. But will I miss the daily reminders of their presence in my life as their carefree misplacing of items interrupts my thoughts to say, ‘For Fuck’s Sake,’ one more time? You bet. That apple core making penicillin in the corner is a reminder of our childrens’ lives entwined in ours. Their daily presence is our fifty-thousand step journey. Appreciate the pain each step gives you while you still have the legs to carry you forward.
Upon reflecting, I guess in week ten I learned to be present. Take the time to walk the miles needed but not forget to put your face to the sun, take a cleansing breath, or smell the exhaust fumes from the cars (you thought I’d say roses but remember the icy cold?). Pretty soon, and we all know how fast it goes, you might be standing in their empty closet wondering where the time went instead of remembering the moments that brought you a few steps closer to the best people you have ever known. By the way, I fully expect to see at least one dirty sock in that room after they leave and I’m still likely to say, ‘For Fuck’s Sake,’ but I will say it with a smile.
My Turning 50 Like a Boss Tip: Take time to be present.
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