Last year I took 2.5 million steps. Well, according to my Pacer app two million, five hundred and thirty-eight thousand, two hundred and twelve to be more exact. And that’s only counting the steps I took with my phone on me. But it’s also counting the steps my phone thinks I take when I’m driving on a really bumpy road, usually on the way to a trailhead, so I’ll call it about even.
I like to walk and it’s one of those things I’m really good at because it’s low risk and I rarely ever fall and even when I do, I do all my own stunts so I’m usually just fine, and since I got a real camera last year instead of just using my cell phone I’ve learned to be a lot more careful. Really I should start carrying it around at home because that’s where most accidents happen because statistically, your house is actually a very dangerous place, and my plan to eradicate anything with a corner or an edge in my home met an early end because of – walls.
But even though walking is something I enjoy, it’s not always something I feel like doing. Half the time I don’t really want to go until I’m on the trail, and even then I’m sometimes grumbly because my body likes to conspire against me and I’m walking with a headache or a backache or knee pain or a wonky hip and really it’s not fair because I’d prefer not to be this way, and I never asked to be hit by a car or to have arthritis and joint problems and a muscle disorder or any of the other little things that occasionally add up and feel like big things, but here’s the actual most important thing – walking always makes me feel better.
The couch is not my friend, and over the years I’ve learned that I’m going to ache regardless of what I do, so why not make the most of it and do what I enjoy doing?
I find nature and fresh air and wildlife restorative. Hiking on a trail gives me something to focus on besides myself. It helps clear some of the fog that sometimes settles around my brain and brings clarity. And even though this part doesn’t really make sense, it takes away my fatigue. That’s not to say that after an eight-mile hike I feel energetic, but the general malaise gets burned away and replaced with a different type of tiredness.
One that lets me know that despite everything, at my core I’m strong and healthy and able.
Those 2.5 steps helped me work out the plots for several novels and short stories. They helped curb angry words and soothed upset feelings. They helped me focus when I got super excited when an acquisitions editor wanted to develop one of my novels into a series. And they helped me recenter when the editor left the publisher and her replacement decided not to proceed with the project and I felt shattered.
On the days when I feel like following my dreams is a waste of time, I make myself walk.
On the days when just getting out of bed feels like an enormous effort and I need something to give me a sense of accomplishment besides just adulting, I leash up the dog and get outside.
When my husband and I start griping at each other because we’re overwhelmed with everything we have to do and there’s never enough time, we make it worse by taking a long hike together – which makes it so much better. We’re blessed to have the opportunity to see so many wonderous things, and they’re all the more special when we get to share the experience.
Even if he does get scared and yell at me when I do my own stunts. If he really wanted to help he’d do something about all those sharp edged walls in the house since they’re the real enemy. 😉