Monday, November 10, 2014

Life's A Beach?

"There is nothing better for sorting out dilemma's than a quiet, reflective walk. It is a very good time to meditate...although one must keep an eye out for Conch shells on your path. "  Bill T.

My buddy Bill wrote this in the Comments of my blog a long time ago.  I just reread it and it got me to thinking.  He's so right!  Now, if we all had access to what sounds like a stunning beach in Belize like Bill does for much of the year, we'd all be more motivated to walk, if only to hunt for sea shells.  I know I would.

Bill and I went to high school together.  Not that long ago we celebrated our 40th reunion!!  Forty years since high school.  Now, more than that.  But, back in those days - before ice was invented, as I tell my kids - walking was what everyone did.  Each family in our suburban community had only one car and Dad got that to drive to work.  No matter how far from school we lived, we all walked.  For some kids, that was maybe 3 miles.  For me, it was a mile.  In all kinds of weather.  Uphill both ways.  Well, uphill getting to school.  But, I digress.

Walking was the only way most of us had to get around.  Some kids lived on a bus line but most of us just walked - from those earliest grades through high school.  The school district owned no school buses (now, they do) so we hoofed it.

University City, Missouri was a wonderful place to walk.  In Summer, we walked 3 miles to Heman Park to swim all day then drag ourselves home all sunburnt and worn out.  We walked to the ice cream store, the grocery store, the drug store.  We rode our bikes to the park, to visit friends, and sometimes to school, although that was discouraged for some reason.  I was a fairly solitary child, so I used to bike all the way to the Art Museum in Forest Park to see the mummy's toe sticking out of the sarcophagus and the other wonders there - until my Mom found out about it.  It was probably a 5 miles trip each way, across several major streets, and I was 10.

To my point, walking was natural, normal, and a requirement.  No one thought anything about it.  That still goes in many parts of the U.S. and around the world, but it is not the case for the St. Louis area today.  Everyone drives everywhere.  School buses drive kids who live even a few blocks from school.  And, we'd never think of allowing a 10 year old to drive 5 miles alone - anywhere!

We have lost the ability to remain naturally fit and agile.  We have replaced a very natural activity with the 4 wheels of an automobile.  There's an irony there that does not escape me.  I live within 5 miles of my former place of employment and there is absolutely no safe way to walk or bike there.  No legal way.  Sometimes I see pedestrians or cyclists on the divided highway - but they are breaking the law - and placing themselves in physical jeopardy.

There is probably no solution to this dilemma - but there are some actions we can take to offset the lack of naturally occurring (and required) physical activity.  We can take our kids to the park and walk around.  We can take our kids to trails near our home and point out the wonders of our local ecology on a walk.  We can take a cart or wagon and walk to the grocery store.  We can walk around our block and meet our neighbors.  We can play in the yard, building snowmen in winter and jumping through the sprinkler in summer, raking piles of leaves and jumping in them.  We can let our kids build simple PVC and 2X4 'rails' to skateboard on.  We can unplug and tune in to our real lives.

Are you in?  My friend Kris and I comment often, especially this time of year when the weather is often wet and cold, how much easier it is to walk 3 miles on a trail than at the mall.  Bill got it right with his words about sorting out dilemmas on a walk.  This is a gift we can give our kids.  It's free, fits any size or age, and keeps on giving throughout life.  Go ahead and get some for yourself and your kids (and other family members).  You have nothing to lose but stress and fatigue - and much to gain.

*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

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