Sometimes we see that phrase – learning to walk – and think of it in terms of progressing upward from something below.
Or perhaps a wheelchair.
It was the opposite for me.
For the last decade I’ve been a fairly avid cyclist. Long climbs up twisty mountain roads and navigating around lakes at sunrise were my happy place. Until a couple years ago when a dull pain showed up (completely uninvited, I might add) in my left knee. It wasn’t terrible, but it was enough to keep me off the bike for a week. Then a month. Then almost a year.
Running make it worse. So did a half dozen other activities. The only thing I could do, it turned out, was walk.
So I did.
Plodding along and making friends with the grandmas in my neighborhood (the only other people, it turns out, who walk in the morning) wasn’t my first choice, but those were my cards so I did my best to embrace it.
Early morning rides became early morning strolls.
Stereotypically jogging through the sand on family vacations became walking with my son while he napped in the stroller.
Friday afternoon spins up and over mountain roads became meandering hikes to the top of Nordic Valley.
When my flight was delayed on a business trip? You guessed it, I walked.
That last moment was one of those points when I started to realize what was happening.
I was in Stowe for work. I’d had a great week of meetings and the skiing had been incredible. My knee felt fine. But when my flight was delayed the thing I found myself most excited about wasn’t the fact that in 30 minutes I could be at Bolton Valley making a few more turns, it was the sign I’d noticed about a path alongside Lake Champlain.
In other words, walking wasn’t something I was settling for, I was something I was choosing to do.
I Know, I Know
Yes, walking isn’t cool or hip or trendy. But man, I’ve never found something that puts me in a better mood and mindset than a good stroll.
I’m happier, I think more clearly, I’m more optimistic, I get better ideas, I appreciate my surroundings more, I’m more observant, I’m less distracted, I’m more cheerful, and less concerned about the things I can’t control.
So, yeah, name is Gregg. And I love walking so much I wrote this blog post about it.