So here’s the truth of the matter: I don’t like to walk.
Sure, there are days when a walk is absolutely lovely, but there are more days when walking is simply uncomfortable. My gut reaction to an invitation to take a walk is fear. Will it hurt? Can I make it? Every walk is unpredictably different for me in comfort level so I’ve been conditioned to expect the worse.
Last year I walked everyday for six months. Over time, walking became easier and more comfortable, but I could never free myself from the twelve pound prosthetic leg I have to haul around with me with every step. Once the commitment I made to myself and to the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation was over, I slowly stopped walking. Why? Well, I said it was to finish my book, but I suspect there was something deeper going on. What I know now is that, half a year later, I miss walking. Well, not really walking, but I miss the side effects to my walks.
I miss the daily connection with my husband and kids. I miss our conversations – the ones that come so naturally when taking a walk. My husband and I are at that stage in life when we’re managing a busy household. By the time the kids go to bed at 10:00 pm, we’re spent. Our daily walk, whether we talked or not, was a touchstone to our day when we connected as loving partners.
Motion is lotion and I can tell my body misses the daily tune-up. The changes to my body when I walked for six months were subtle yet profound. Now that I’m not walking, my tendinitis and bursitis have flared up and even a few new maladies have surfaced. All emit low levels of pain, making their irritating presence known.
I started my six months of walking in January when the trees were bare and the neighborhood gardens were brown and dull. Over six months I witnessed the earth’s yearly emergence into spring and then summer: bare trees swelling with tiny buds that slowly opened into fragrant blossoms that slowly wilted and dropped to the sidewalk and were slowly trampled into dust. I miss being outside and feeling the wind, the rain, the sun, just the air on my face.
But mostly, I miss being proud of myself. I had never walked everyday for six months in my life. Some days I really didn’t want to walk, but I honored my commitment. Like the energizer bunny, I kept on going. There was a level of deep contentment I felt in knowing, that when I took my walk, I was stretching myself out of my comfort zone, outside of the safe place where life is stagnant.
So, I’m going to start walking again five days a week. I’m not committing to a mile a day like last time, I’m committing to a daily stretch outside my comfort zone. I’m committing to stepping outside of fear and into trust. I’m committing to me.