Several weeks ago, in a blog about walking, I might have implied that all of my strolls were meditative in nature, serious communion with God and creation.
Not true. There are certainly days I am all ears and eyes for the beauty of God’s world. But, honestly, that is rare.
Almost all of life is complicated. Even a simple habit and hobby such as hiking or walking has multiple motivations.
You never know what you will run into if you just leave your house, go out your front door, and wander through your own neighborhood. I ran into a July 4 Parade that was more fun than anything happening downtown.
Experiences that make me smile do not require plane trips to Peru or car trips to Canada. I enjoy those too, but close-to-home perambulations can bring pleasant surprises.
One of my friends reminded me, keeping me from being too pious, that when I am in strange places, I have also been known to discover pastry and chocolate shops! Just go out the front door, wherever you are, and wander. I do love to find (and eat) good food. I won an award with an article I wrote about finding my favorite-ever restaurant on a daylong stroll through Brussels, Belgium.
On many occasions, as I walk through my community, I listen to a ball game on the radio or to a podcast on my iPhone. I need motivation of all kinds to keep me walking, day after day, year after year.
On a beautiful spring day, perfect weather, the pure pleasure of being alive in the outdoors is reward enough. But in the dead of winter, when it is freezing outside, I tell my wife I am getting ready to take a “character walk.” Pure discipline is required. If I can anticipate some payoff that has value in addition to exercise, then that encourages me to keep walking. (Some people workout on treadmills indoors and watch television while they exercise. Whatever works for you…)
Since I have been retired for almost five months, I rarely miss a day walking. I hiked, strolled, and roamed on foot somewhere every day in April and almost every day in May and June.
One other thing: My neighbors should pay me. Not only do I pick up money. I pick up nails. I have not kept a log of how many nails, screws and sharp objects I find every month, but I know I have prevented a truckload of flat tires. Every now and then I take a bag with me and pick up cans and bottles so they can be recycled.
Having been a serious walker for ten or more years, I look for motivation anywhere I can find it.