It’s 38 degrees outside today and the wind is blustering. It’s not the weather you expect in the Las Vegas desert, but if you live here it’s not surprising. I’m wearing a leather jacket, wool hat, and gloves. I’m walking to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for New Year’s Eve.
The store is a little over a mile away and I could easily drive there in five minutes, but here I am, face into the cold wind enjoying my walk.
For a few years now, I’ve been riding my bike. For the most part, I’m a fair weather rider. When the temperatures start hitting the forties, the bike tends to stay in the garage. When it’s warmer out, I ride my bike to the grocery store to do my shopping. Even with the commuter bike, it’s still a little bit of a project to get going. Because of that, I tended to not ride to the store as often as I could have. I was feeling guilty about not riding so I started walking instead.
I’ve been walking around the neighborhood a lot recently and I feel like I’m discovering it all new. I’ve lived here for 17 years and I’ve never really took my time to explore the place. For example I thought most of the area had paved sidewalks. That is entirely not the case as I discovered walking to the park the other week. I’m on a major surface street with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction, and no sidewalks or street lights. It’s something I never noticed zipping by the same area thousands of times at 45 miles per hour. I didn’t even notice it riding my bike hundreds of times at 20 miles per hour.
Walking slows me down, and that’s a good thing. For that hour it takes me to walk to and from the grocery store, there’s nothing to distract me from the task at hand. My brain disengages from multitasking. For me it becomes very serene and relaxing, even on a cold winter day. So much so that I’m starting to make excuses to go to the store.
For most of my life I always kept my eye on the goal. While never losing sight of your goal is a good thing, having tunnel vision to your goal may not. You may just miss some amazing people and events during the journey.
So what does it all mean? For me, time has been flying by. It seems like only yesterday we started 2014 and now here we are at the cusp of 2015. Before you know it, we’ll be half way through the year. If walking to the store slows down my day and lets me decompress for a short time, I don’t see the down side. I can enjoy what I have and what I’m experiencing without distraction. We are constantly bombarded with outside stimulation, it’s nice to shut it all off sometimes and only let in a what you are in control of.
I know none of what I’ve written is new or Earth shattering, but sometimes it takes a 3 mile walk in cold wind to have a light-bulb moment.