Archives for posts with tag: walking

The weather was perfect. Waldo and I had a great walk. The Kid called me as I was driving to work, and we had a fine chat; she called me “the best mom ever.” I walked into the store with the sense that I was in charge; I could take it or leave it, and I liked my co-workers very much.

I had an excellent lunch- a beautiful soup made by Dr. T.  A friend from my last job sent me a message just to say hello.

I spent the afternoon off the sales floor, doing work in the office with my general manager (the big boss) at my side. We talked. I got everything I needed to do finished, and stayed a little late to handle a customer who was unhappy with somebody else. He and his wife were both satisfied by the time I left. My GM was happy too.

Dr. T fixed a nice dinner, we  watched some TV, and laughed at the dog and the cat.

Sometimes the smallest, most ordinary days are the best. I am very grateful to have noticed this one.

You’ve heard before how much I enjoy walking.  Last year, I logged at least 400 miles, right here in my neighborhood. I know this because of a cute little app on my phone. (I believe I have also mentioned that I am something of a dork, with mild OCD.) I say “at least” 400 miles because some of my walks did not conform to my standards for logging them (again with the OCD dorkitude) and sometimes I forgot to set the app.

This same app forces me to acknowledge that until today,  my last walk was on New Year’s Eve day, 2012.

I had not taken one walk this entire year.

A minor medical procedure on January 2nd left me with several stitches on my foot. I was instructed to stay off the foot as much as possible for three weeks. A dutiful patient, I complied.

The weather in January and February was largely awful: rainy and bitterly cold, and the sun set so early. My work schedule was unpredictable. My next door walking buddy continued to be unavailable. Other domestic issues arose, and that walk I was always going to take “tomorrow” failed to materialize. I can easily list the reasons I did not walk on any given day, but the big question remains:

Why is it so hard to do something that is free, simple, and enjoyable? I know that I feel better on every level when I make time for a walk, and yet somehow I  managed not to take one for months. Bad habits are hard to break, and good habits, once broken, seem hard to resume.

I suspect walking falls into the same category as some of my other, frequently neglected, favorite pastimes: reading, writing, drawing and sewing. They serve no one but me, and generate no income. I feel selfish when I indulge in them, and have an uneasy sense that I should be doing something more worthwhile.

Which is ridiculous, because I don’t necessarily do anything else.  I just deny myself the enjoyment of those activities, ending up flabby, sluggish and out of sorts. And Waldo suffers.

It’s also ridiculous because what I feel is antithetical to what I know;  I feel that I am being selfish and non-productive, but I know that exercise is critical to physical and mental health.

This morning, before anything else could interfere, I dressed for a walk, except for my shoes. There was no way I’d get a cup of coffee (or two) in before heading out if Waldo saw my sneakers.  Fortified by caffeine, I hooked up the dog and off we went.

Barely across the street, at Waldo’s first pit stop, I felt the comfort of a familiar routine. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been off it so long, and hard to understand why.

We got a little over 2 miles in today (thank you, app!) and I am shooting for 3 tomorrow.

My mom used to say, “Age is a state of mind,” which is of course, the companion phrase to “You are only as old as you feel.”

On Thursday, I took my usual walk with my next door neighbor (4.2 miles this time) before working a busy eight-hour shift at the store. I got home shortly after  8:00 p.m., visited with Dr. T and Waldo, and had a snack. Another neighbor, with whom I have occasionally started walking in the evenings, texted me. Would Waldo and I care to join her and her dog for a stroll? Sure.

I hooked up the dog and headed down the street. I enjoyed a pleasant visit with my neighbor on the deserted creek side path, smelling the honeysuckle and admiring the sky, laughing at the dogs losing their minds at the smell of the deer in the distance.

We talked about our days. “You must be exhausted,” my neighbor said when she heard about mine. “Not really,” said I, “I actually feel pretty good.”

I’m not sure how far the second walk was, but I was gone about an hour, and I know that the round trip from my house to the trailhead at the end of my neighbor’s street is one mile, so I am guessing roughly two or three miles total. Knowing I did not have to work the following day, I stayed up for a while.

Yesterday, I had an early appointment with the doctor. I came home, did some general straightening around the house and helped Dr. T with some pool-related chores in the backyard. I vacuumed the living room and family room carpets. I picked up the dry cleaning and dropped off a pair of pants for alterations. I got home around 2:30, and by 3:00 I was headed back to bed, completely flummoxed as to why I was so dang tired. Then I thought about Thursday.

Writing this, I am reminded of my 10th high school reunion, way back when. We danced and drank and carried on, and the next day there was an informal picnic at a neighborhood park. I still remember what  my classmate Joel said that afternoon: “It didn’t seem like ten years last night, but it sure does today.”

It’s always the next day that gets you, isn’t it?

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (

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