Three weeks ago I badly rolled my ankle on my regular morning walk/hike and broke my fibula. Luckily the fibula is not a weight-bearing bone. Not as luckily, I broke my right ankle and can’t drive. It’s still painful, still a bit swollen and, as I like to say, “this is getting lame!”
I miss a lot of things being incapacitated this way, but mostly I miss my walks. My friends are taking Buddy with them, so he’s still getting his walks. Thank goodness for good friends. I miss my time with them, too, although I’ve had some lovely visits with them on my porch, and one day a friend even brought cocktail hour to me. I’m not much for alcohol these days, but her fruity martini cocktail was lovely. The company was even better.
So, back to the walking. I have always said, wherever life takes me, please, just let me always be able to walk! Luckily this is a temporary thing despite the feeling of it being an eternity. Whenever I see someone with a walker, or in a wheelchair, or otherwise unable to walk, I always feel a bit sorry for them and repeat my silent prayer—”Please, just let me always be able to walk.”
Walking is my mental health. Walking is my connection to nature (gardening is, too). Walking is companionship with my dogs (dog, at this point, and a puppy to boot). Walking is my favorite speed. I can zip along if I have a mission, but I much prefer to walk a moderate pace and observe. You see so much more of your surroundings when you walk. And oftentimes you run into a person and get lost in conversation. Or, walking with friends, you can converse and move your body at the same time.
As you get older, walking is one of the best exercises you can do. It is less stress on you physically, plus it’s meditative so it relieves stress. I remember my mom telling my Nana to always keep walking or she would lose the ability. She didn’t keep walking, and she did lose the ability. I remember Nana having trouble with her stamina walking from the parking lot to the bleachers when I graduated on the high school field. That day, I realized my mom’s warning had come true. I did, however, have an elderly neighbor who walked every day. Ms. Akens would hop in her car and head to other parts of town to vary things up. So I didn’t see her every day, but she did walk the neighborhood a lot.
I was just doing something similar with my puppy before my accident. Since he is building up his ability to do longer walks, we were doing some shorter ones by walking the backroads of Princeton. With the side benefit of me learning a lot about this town that I’ve lived in for over 30 years. And another side benefit of exposing Buddy to new things, as we walked by farms and house construction and other brand new experiences and paused to let him take it all in.
As I pulled my “WALK.” t-shirt out of my closet this morning, I thought, “what a shame I can’t do what it says.” But I decided that I was going to ask you to do me a favor. Walk for me. Appreciate those steps you can take. So many people track their steps. I say, just walk. Walk for adventure. Walk for me, but walk for you. Follow my mom’s advice and keep on walking, for as long as you can. And someday soon, I will join you again.