I just completed a walk that took me upwards of 6 km. That wasn’t just because I really should walk more often, but in particular it’s for my Movember commitment to walk 60 km this month.
A few observations I made along the way:
1. When I’m walking with intent for distance instead of pleasure, music matters
I recently posted on social media that I’d started a walk by listening to a podcast but turned it off and pulled out the earbuds part way through because I was more enjoying just listening to everything around me and allowing my thoughts to happen as they did, all of which is easier without someone talking into your earholes.
But when I’m shooting for distance, music is a definite benefit.
But not just any music. This isn’t time for classical or cool jazz, which I love at times.
This is time for hard music.
Music that keeps me moving.
Here’s my playlist from the walk:
Now, you might as well delete Wolves in your mind. As I’ve noticed before but keep forgetting to act on, it’s a solid song but is too slow for this mix.
And speaking of this mix, if you have any suggestions for songs in this flavour/emphasis/speed — everything from rock to metal to EDM — please do let me know. My current list is only about twice as long as the played songs shown here, and particularly if I’m walking for distance, I could do with more in this pool to pull from. (And speaking of pool, I’m not sure why Bodies by Drowning Pool isn’t in there. I’ll have to try that out…)
2. Litterers are assholes
This isn’t the first time I’ve stated the fact, but it was brought to mind when I realized that I walked over 6 km, half through parkland, and despite snacking on Halloween treats and having junk in a pocket, I didn’t once throw anything on the ground.
Know what I did instead?
I waited until I passed a public garbage can and threw it out there.
It’s really, really not that hard to do, you jerks. And it would help keep one of the more beautiful parts of our city looking its best.
3. Unless the temperature is into single digits (C), I don’t need a jacket for a walk
Now, I hear what you’re saying: “But Reay, jackets are good for carrying snacks.”
And that’s very true. An excellent point, and one that really hits home with me.
But the problem is, even if I start off a little uncomfortably cool, I end up overheating part way through the walk and need to take off the extra layer. And I’ve always had a dislike for carrying things in my hands if I can sling it on my back or otherwise carry it some other way, so today it necessitated tying the arms of my jacket around my waste and getting that half-cape look going.
No one looks good like that.
And the fact that the light jacket I wore today is a slippery material and one loop wouldn’t hold meant I had to double knot the sleeves right at my wasteline, which I (and everyone) could do without having.
4. There are still times I enjoy having done things more than doing them
I’ve realized this more and more lately. I know age-old wisdom tells is that it’s the journey and not the destination. And as Anne Lammot put it in her book Bird by Bird, ‘You do the tea ceremony to get the tea. But one day you find it was the ceremony you really needed.’
But there are certainly times I like having done something more than the process of working through it. Seeing it done instead of doing it.
Writing often feels that way, which is perhaps telling of something wrong with my approach to it. And this walk felt that way initially, though in retrospect I did enjoy it more than I thought I would (although, who knows? Maybe that’s me looking back on something kindly from a place of having done it).
5. Aesthetics really do matter to me
I’ve known this for decades, of course. But there are times like today where it really stands out.
I did close to half this walk cutting through a nearby parkland area, which I’ve always enjoyed doing. However, to change things up, I didn’t want to just head out and then straight back along the same route. No, no, clever person I am, I instead cut up to a major street that would take me back home in a large, wonky rectangle pattern.
But boy, did that major street ever not jibe with me.
I mean, there were some perks — meeting a friend who was walking the other way, for instance, which is always nice, and who I would’ve missed completely if I’d just backtracked my original path — but overall there was very little that was positive from walking beside a busy four-lane street instead of walking through a quiet lakeside stretch of park.
6. Happy dogs really do make me happy
There’s a genuine joy I get from seeing happy dogs.
On the walk today, I saw two: One little black pug who was happily traipsing beside its owner, and another one, I think a Scottie, who, despite its chunkiness, was bounding and reeling after squirrels at the top end of a college campus. No barking, just a happy pup doing what happy pups do.
7. My will is stronger than I often give it credit for
The walk back along said major street happened to pass by a local convenience/grocery store chain that happens to house a Tim Hortons branch. I was debating the idea of walking along said road precisely because it passes said store with said Tim Hortons. Surely, I figured, if I pass by, I’ll stop for a tea and almost certainly a donut. Which I want, of course (am I breathing? Yes? Then I’ll take a donut, thanks), but also shouldn’t have.
Well, I passed by that store with that Tim Hortons and didn’t even break stride while I did it.
When it comes to treats, as Patton Oswalt put it, my weakness is strong.
But more and more, I’m finding I’m stronger.