I’m listening to the rain/sleet/whatever-the-hell-that-is hitting my windows. It’s been a quiet day. Even from my apartment, I feel how empty the city is becoming. The streets have been quiet, no new email is coming in, and few people are commenting on Facebook. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and everyone is busy traveling or cooking, finishing work or packing a suitcase. Well, almost everyone.
Two weeks ago I decided to walk every day. I had taken 2 walks every day while I was dog sitting, so 1 daily walk seemed reasonable. My health has been improving, and I know I need to keep pushing myself, within reason. So I set a goal of 1 walk each day, 6 days per week. So far I haven’t quite managed it, but I’ve walked 5 days out of each week, so I figure that’s a good start. I’ll have to try harder to get it up to 6.
On this quiet, rainy, sleeting, slushy day, I didn’t have anyplace to be. No medical appointments or plans with friends. I’d pushed myself to run errands yesterday so that I could avoid today’s traffic, crowds, and lousy weather. I’d succeeded, but I knew I should still walk. I needed to take that walk. I did need to go to the post office. I could wait until Friday, but why wait?
I haven’t been counting my regular walking towards my goal. I want these walks to be in addition to what I usually do. They don’t have to be long, but they should be at least 2 blocks each way if I can manage it. So the trip to the post office doesn’t really count. It’s a walk I would take anyway, and it’s very short – just a block away. But something is better than nothing.
As I walked to the post office I decided it should count. Not because of the sleet bouncing off my umbrella. Not because of the cold whipping my face. But because of the slush under my feet. I walked slowly and deliberately. I focused on my gait, my posture, my limbs and joints. I was as careful as I could be. I knew that slipping and falling could be no big deal, or it could be disastrous. The walk was probably 12 or 15 minutes round trip because I was walking so slowly, so carefully. I held my breath, then had to remember to breath. I felt my ankle turn on some uneven sidewalk that wasn’t visible beneath the snow, and I was thankfully I didn’t injure myself. I felt my foot slip slightly, but I regained my balance.
With every step, I was nervous. But I was also proud of myself. The easy thing would have been to stay home. That also would have been the isolating thing. I needed to be out. I needed fresh air. I needed to see other people. I needed to feel that I wasn’t trapped. And I needed to know that I could keep up with my exercise if I tried hard enough.
There will be enough days that I won’t be able to take my walks. I will be in too much pain, have too much fatigue, or have some other ailment. I will have to choose between taking a walk and buying groceries, which is what happened yesterday. I will have to skip most of the summer, due to my heat sensitivity. So I’m very glad that today, at least, I took that walk. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t perfect, but I did it.