How Walking Kept Me Sane
It seems that through every hour of darkness, every moment of utter defeat, and every period of my life where I’ve felt at my lowest, I found solace in walking.
I maintained my sanity through long walks at night to be left alone with my thoughts. It didn’t matter where my destination was or whether or not anyone saw me all alone. “What a loser,” someone must have thought to himself as I walked around the lonely, quiet neighborhood. I can’t blame anyone for thinking that because at the time I sure felt like a loser.
The moment the clock hit 8 p.m., I took off into the night without any explanation to anyone. I dropped what I was doing, headed out the door, and returned an hour after. I always managed to return with a content smile on my face.
Forming the Ritual
Years passed since my last tragedy and I had gotten rid of that nightly ritual. I found myself no longer needing walks to keep my sanity. Why? I realized how great my friends were and began to emotionally invest in the “overpowered” group for support.
Over time, walking just soon became embedded into what we did. Sure, we were too young to drive back then, so we didn’t really have much of a choice, but we loved every minute of it.
A close friend and I spent two hours walking to the mall and while we did it, we just talked about anything that came up no matter how personal and secret it was.
Walking also taught us to embrace the moments of silence. It taught us to let go of our worries and just focus on the present. These sorts of walks kept us sane and we tried our best to take advantage of walks as much as we could.
We made it a point to walk to the local Starbucks every week or so where we continued our conversations once we sat down for a few hours and prepared to walk back.
Sure, there was that one time we almost got ran over by a man who wasn’t looking where he was going as we were on the crosswalk, but we waved him a signal of forgiveness because his face reflected true embarrassment (with a hint of fear.)
How Walking Kept Me Sane
The walks that had the most influence in maintaining my sanity are the ones that my friends and I would do at night.
We all used to live relatively close to each other so we would sometimes meet up at one of our houses and just walk around during strange hours. We even ran around at 3 in the morning at one point. Sometimes these walks inspired us to discuss topics that we dare not bring up while we were visible by sunlight.
At times we had a destination, other times we didn’t.
Why You Should Walk
While we walked, we didn’t have to worry about what we have to do later or where we should be going. In fact, walking is one way I stop worrying about everything. We stayed present in the moment and just enjoyed each other’s company; these moments were sacred and reminded us how valuable companionship is.
I dare you to take a walk outside and come back an hour later with your mind filled with worries. I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t be able to (unless you’re intentionally trying to prove me wrong.)
Walking lets you take in the scenery, something I’m betting you rarely do.
Walking lets you slow down and breathe.
Walking keeps you sane.