I bliss out when I experience the connection between walking and writing, just as surely as I use the “no candy” checkout line in the grocery store, or sacrifice my dignity for a cheap laugh.
Walking in the woods – especially with my cellphone turned off – is always a reminder for me to re-evaluate The Question: what’s the rush? It just agrees with me. Taking a time-out from everything I “should” be doing, or need to do, and tuning in to the simplicity and complexity of the natural world, via ideal heart-rate and blood-flow, is where it’s at.
I really enjoyed the recent article in Poets and Writers magazine, explaining how Charles Dickens wrote for five hours a day and then spent the rest of the afternoon taking extended walks. What a dream schedule for the everyday workingman such as myself! I’m going to be 40 this year, and for the first time in my life I see the need to slow down as paramount to my sanity, and my ability to stay centered. One can be ambitious in many different ways, and life in the fast lane can lose its luster.
What exactly is it that we’re all rushing toward these days? Maybe financial security or social status, or maybe it’s a cerebral reaction to the current technology. Maybe it’s fear that we’ll arrive at the last outpost of our lives feeling like failures, obsessing over all the things we didn’t do, all the places we didn’t go. Or maybe we’re unconsciously trying to fit in with others around us who are striving for superhuman goals.
All I know is I messed up a lot of stuff in my younger years, whirling and twirling in a wild rush. Now I need to slow down and think about things before I do them, and just do the best I can each day. I think it’ll be fine. I don’t think I’ll be on my deathbed thinking “dammit, if only I would have multi-tasked more efficiently!”