“Slow down and everything you are chasing with come around and catch you.” -John De Paola
The old “me” would have just hopped in my car. Starved for time and with way too much on my plate, I would have chosen the quickest, easiest option. The mission was pretty simple, I just needed to drop something off at a store that’s pretty much right around the corner from home. Total drive time about five minutes there and back… maybe three, if I caught the light.
However, this new year is about the “new me”. I’m shaking things up and slowing down some. Since today I find myself with some extra time on my hands, I decide to take the road less travelled, and tackle my task by foot.
Yes, I tightened up my trusty sneakers, threw on my big sweatshirt and sunglasses, left the car keys behind and headed out. The stroll reminded me of my school days when I would walk back and forth to school… to the candy store… to my friends houses and anywhere else my legs could take me. Remember when walking somewhere was your only option? When was the last time you did this?
Now don’t get me wrong, I walk and run through my neighborhood almost daily. I do that with purpose, to exercise. Typically my iPod keeps me company deafening the sounds of nature as my feet pound the pavement. Today’s walk was different. Yes, it had a purpose, I needed to take care of an errand, but more than that it was to take time with myself, sort through my thoughts and to just be. Plus, if you can walk (or bike) somewhere you’re actually helping the environment, and potentially saving some green too.
Slowing down is tricky. To me it doesn’t mean working with less passion, or working fewer hours or not working as hard. To me it means being smart about my time and learning to take some time out. I struggle with this. I’ve always considered myself a do-er. If I’m at home, you’ll rarely find me just sitting still. Typically, I’m working on a project or folding laundry or answering e-mail. I’ve lived everyday in the super fast lane for so many years, that now I’m having to teach myself to decelerate. It’s a difficult lesson to learn; there are other options than simply going 90 miles per hour all day long. Today presented the perfect opportunity to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
As I walked down my driveway, I had quite the greeting. Tails wagging, my neighbor’s dogs bounded my way, happy to see me, I guess. After a few wet kisses and some rubbing behind the ears, I walked them back to their owner. He lives just a few doors down, but most of our communication is a quick wave while driving by. It was wonderful to connect with a neighbor I barely knew and chat for a few minutes. It was a refreshing and welcome change from my normal routine.
I took off on my mission on the winding and hilly back streets of our neighborhood. The birds were singing. I watched the bushy-tailed squirrels scurrying. Cats curiously sat in windows watching me, and dogs barked from across the street. Traffic hummed in the distance. I smiled with surprise as I looked at a neighbor’s bright yellow daffodils already sprouting up. I giggled when I looked across the street at the other neighbor who was wondering why I was taking pictures with my camera. With a steady gait, I strolled along, a cool breeze in my face and sunshine at my back. I felt relaxed. I felt alive. I felt peace.
I enjoyed “running” my errand so much, I over shot the store I was heading to by about a half mile. (I walked on the back streets to avoid all the traffic). Had I been in a car, this would have bothered me, I would have felt like I lost some time and wasted some gas, but amazingly, by foot, it was no biggie. It meant more time with my thoughts and outside in the wonderful February weather unfolding today.
My five-minute trip, probably took about 30 in all. I learned too, that by slowing down for a bit, I had more energy to attack my other tasks of the day. Who knew running an errand “the old fashion way” would be such a step in the right direction?
- Walking: The Fresh Way! (tonifresh.wordpress.com)
- Run errands or walk errands (rookiemoms.com)
- Another Errand (tillieandcoco.wordpress.com)