The Struggle is Real, But Walking helps

From a walk a few weeks ago. Fall colors are much more vivid now.
From a walk a few weeks ago. Fall colors are much more vivid now.

When I sit down to blog, millions of possible topics run through my mind. Should I write about this? Is this topic idea more relevant than the other? This, this, this…that, that, that…  But I struggle with the possibility of rambling on — if I say, “let’s see where this goes”, I know it’ll end up being a mess. To be honest, my mind is like this all the time, not when I’m trying to write or blog.

The only time my mind is calm is when I am asleep and maybe really not even then. I often wake up from vivid dreams.  I often forget soon after what they’re about, actually, but I know they are vivid.

Meditation? I’ve tried it, but never seem to have long-enough blocks of time to give it a chance to allow me to zone out.

Taking walks outdoors really does help me and my mental frame of mind. There is a walking trail nearby that I love. Pictures I take there with my iPhone never do it justice. This particular trail is part of the historic Brandywine Battlefield area. Sometimes it gives me pause that such a beautiful area once had dead bodies and blood all over, albeit long time ago back in 1777. Its beauty and history makes me feel very reverent when I walk this trail.

I get good ideas when I’m moving. I look back to when I was young and wish that I had been encouraged to embrace movement more. There are memories of hiking trips-slash-camping trips with my family as a girl growing up in Northern California, but at some point that stopped. I don’t remember us doing anything like that after I became a teenager. Until now I never really thought about it, or why. Maybe my parents became more busy. Maybe we kids were more busy (although that is a relative term…we were bumps on a log in comparison to how busy my kids are today). P.E. was no fun for me; I was always picked last (being the only deaf kid in P.E. classes had a lot to do with that). Perhaps because of my P.E. experiences, I have long been disinclined to find group opportunities for exercise.

Walking really is good enough for me. I like it when my family member(s) join me, but if not, being solitary still is satisfactory. I often feel that maybe I should push myself physically more — my body certainly would fit better in my jeans if I did — but my knees can’t take running or other high-impact activities. I’m in awe of people who train and participate in triathlons or other athletics that take up a lot of their time and physical fortitude.  But I am me and they are them. I need to remember that and not beat myself up over it.

What really matters is how I feel after what I do. And it’s much, much better after walking. No, it doesn’t solve everything. I still struggle with things like trying not to obsess over how many jelly bellies I eat daily. I struggle with inadequacy. I struggle with finding balance in life overall. The struggle continues to be real, but it helps to find something that puts me in a better frame of mind, even if it is for a short time and not 24/7. It’s better than not at all.


Taking a Walk Didn’t Kill Me

In theory, I have nothing against exercise. I like the way it clears my brain after I “just do it”. It’s just that it’s too easy to let other things get in the way. Also, I do best when I head out the door first thing in the morning (or at least after the kids are off to school) to exercise. Earlier this year, when we were living in our temporary apartment, I would go right over to their fitness center in the mornings. Ideally, we should have then joined a club when we moved in this house five months ago, but we are house poor right now due to a lot of expected and unexpected repairs. For a while, I was able to get exercise in some form or another by unpacking and putting things away (lots of stairs here!) or painting the walls (going up and down the ladders). But, then — especially after summer ended and my more-forgiving skirts gave way to jeans– I noticed I had way too much of a jelly belly.

jelly bellies

That’s right, a big jelly belly that jiggles. And, yes, part of that is due to Jelly Belly candies themselves. I love them! Not jelly beans, but specifically jelly bellies. Buttered popcorn is my favorite flavor, by the way. Today, I resolved to start calorie-tracking again and to take walks until we can join a club (hopefully that’ll become possible when snow makes walking outdoors too difficult).

This (above) is what one serving of jelly bellies look like like. Exactly 35 of them, counted out and lined up. 140 calories. That will be my snack throughout the day. I had been eating way more than that recently. Maybe I’ll cut back further on my daily jelly belly intake. But not today! Baby steps are best sometimes.

With that set aside, I took a deep breath. Time to take a walk. There are a few nice walking trails around here, which I’ve gone to before, but I want to drive less. My neighborhood is just off a very busy, narrow road, so my walk would have to be limited to just the two streets that my neighborhood consists of. In my mind, I had many what ifs. What if I see neighbors? Especially ones we haven’t met before (which is most of them)? Not that I’m antisocial, but we are new to the ‘hood and stopping to talk and introduce myself would cause me to lose momentum. What if it starts to rain? Well, then just put on a raincoat before heading out. What if a deer runs across me and a tick jumps on me somewhere, giving me Lyme Disease? Oh for heavens sake just go out there already. So, I did.

And, the walk didn’t kill me. It took exactly 31 minutes to loop around the neighborhood. Mission accomplished! I’ll do it again tomorrow, even though tomorrow will probably try to give me new excuses not to go.

It seems like writing and exercising, for me, have a lot of similarities. I can (and definitely do) think of, and allow, a million of excuses to keep me from doing either. Some are real hurdles, either physically or mentally. Little by little, I’ll try to overcome these hurdles.