I belong to a cyber group of running women; friendships formed years ago when we ran together and separately are maintained now mostly via email. Some of us still run. Some don’t anymore, but encourage the rest. We are all important to each other. This holiday season our Energizer Betty suggested a challenge – that we each commit to walking or running at least one mile every day, beginning on Thanksgiving and continuing until the New Year. It seemed sensible, so I’m in.
What’s one mile, right? For a person bent on getting her 10,000 steps in every day this should be a piece of cake. But here it is day four and it’s cold outside. I don’t want to go to the park for my walk, don’t want to even walk down the street here at home. So I head to my backup walking place – the mall. The stores there don’t open until 11 on Sundays so I arrived just before 9, hoping to get my three miles in and be long gone before holiday shoppers descended.
The parking lot didn’t look that different, perhaps a few more cars, and I headed inside confident I could get my walk done. I was surprised to hear Christmas music blaring from the overhead speakers and all the lights on. The stores were raising their gates as I moved along, and people were beginning to stream in through entrances I passed. Santa was already ho ho hoing on his big chair, the movie theaters were open and smelling of popcorn.
Obviously things were beginning to jump already.
I wove my way through the shoppers moving more quickly than normal as I found myself marching to the fast paced Christmas music. After only one loop, a measly one mile, I gathered my coat and ducked out to the car. I’m going to have to get going sooner in the morning if I plan on using the mall for my walks from now till Christmas.
On my drive home I turned up the radio and soon was listening to the Trans-siberian Orchestra‘s heavy pounding relentless Christmas music. I usually love their stuff, but this morning I felt it was pushing me on down the road, that I was too swiftly moving toward some unknown future. Time is moving so fast. Our community band’s holiday concert is this Tuesday! I’ve barely put the gardens to bed and here we are pushing up against Christmas.
I visited Aunt Vi this afternoon. She’s 100 years old now and spends most of her time sitting in her recliner listening to her bird chirp, watching traffic go by on the road. All those people coming and going, she says, where are they all going? I don’t know Aunt Vi, I don’t know. We’re all going somewhere in a hurry, trying to keep up, headed toward some unknown future, moving quickly to the beat of relentless holiday music.
We’re all in a hurry to get there. But I wonder where the ‘there’ is. Aunt Vi is 100 and she’s no longer running to keep up. I hope I can learn that lesson too. I hope I can slow down and enjoy each day. And I’m probably going to need to find a calmer place as a backup for my walks.
As we rush toward Christmas and the end of another year I hope we can each find moments of calm, peace, beauty and friendship. I’ll be looking for those things on my daily walks.
I hope you find them too.