The first step(s).

road edgeI live exactly one mile from a big box store.  One mile isn’t really very much.  I like to get out and go for walks and runs; one mile would be barely a start when I’m talking about getting movement in.  But I never walk to the store, because there isn’t a single sidewalk between my house and the store.  So, I get in the car and drive there, probably cursing under my breath the whole time, because ugh.  Who drives one mile when they don’t need to?

I live in the heart of a smallish city and it makes me crazy that I can’t easily get anywhere on foot.  Once I’m out of my (sidewalk-free) neighborhood, I have to walk on the shoulders of roads, which perch precariously on the edge of deep ditches. It makes walking anywhere feel like an act of desperation, a last resort, instead of a sensible, sustainable choice.  Every time I pass a gym, I cringe a little – all those treadmills lined up inside, and all the pointless walking and running being done on them.  What if we had sidewalks? And we could just walk to the store or the post office or a restaurant?  Maybe we wouldn’t need to set aside specific “walking/running” time if we could just incorporate movement into our lives.

But how do you change a car culture? Especially here in a place like Oklahoma where things are pretty spread out and having a car is a necessity? Do we give up and accept that means we don’t get to walk anywhere?

I don’t plan to.  It may not be easy or comfortable right now, but until I get out there and do it, I can’t discover what the real issues are and learn if there are any simple things that can be done to make things better and more walkable.

This morning, it was pleasant and I planned to take a walk before it got hot.  And I also needed to go to the store for 3 things.  So, I did it: I grabbed my shopping tote, my wallet, and my good attitude, and walked there.  The whole round-trip only took 47 minutes.  A goodly section of the walk was through parking lots and crossing the main street in town was Frogger-esque due to no crosswalk, but I made it.  And it actually wasn’t as bad as I feared.

So, I’m going to keep doing it, and maybe try to discover other ways to get to nearby places without using a car. After all, if I want to have a walkable community, the first step is to get out there and walk it.

(photo source Pixabay)


A bowl of cereal.

cerealWhen I was seven, we moved to the same street as my grandparents.  My grandfather Poppy was dying of lung cancer and most of my memories of him come from that time.  I remember spending the night with them once, and getting up early while the house was still quiet.  I went into the kitchen and found Poppy sitting at the old oak table.  He smiled at me and invited me to join him in a bowl of raisin bran.  It was his favorite cereal, or at least that’s what I thought as a little kid, and so we sat there letting the flakes soften in the milk before scooping it up.  It feels like my last memory of him.

Poppy was the only person in my childhood whom I felt like completely loved and accepted me – his death when I was young meant that we never had the inevitable disagreements or disappointments that come with family.  He remained a smiling, gentle man in overalls who showed me the special seeds in persimmons and let me comb his pomaded hair into swirls and waves.  He was safety and he was love.  After he died, I prayed to him instead of Jesus for a lot of years.

Raisin bran is my favorite cereal.  But I almost never eat it, because years of dieting and disordered eating and restriction often removed it from the menu.  For the last few months, I’ve been doing intermittent fasting (ostensibly for “health,” but I know my secret motivations) and so breakfast hasn’t even been a thing.  Most days I wouldn’t eat until well after noon.

But I’m so tired of being at odds with my body.  I’ve lost weight and while that is easy to feel good about, it also feels uncomfortable, because I don’t need to lose any more weight and yet I don’t know how to not want to.  The truth is, I always want to lose more.

It’s time to make peace with my body and start treating myself with kindness and compassion, and that means intuitive eating instead of intermittent fasting.  I’m hungry this morning, and specifically hungry for raisin bran – normally I’d say no because it’s too early and also shouldn’t I eat something with protein like eggs or yogurt?

Today, I’m not going to listen to that voice. I’m going to sit at my own old oak table, pour a bowl of raisin bran, let it soften in the milk, and then enjoy it.  And try to remember that I deserve to love myself as much as Poppy loved me.

(photo source Pixabay)