LiLTweeks: How to derail unhealthy living?
The lesson I learned this week [LiLTweeks] marinated over a few days. During that time I revisited how valuable exercise combined with outdoor exploration is for rebuilding muscle and renewing the spirit man in all of us. I also learned the challenges of getting back in shape can be more difficult than jumping onto the track designed for healthy living.
Time for recovery
Last month I traveled four hours by car to visit my mother after a long winter hibernation. After making the rounds visiting family and friends I was ready to pick back up the exercise routine started weeks earlier. I set out to explore a few miles of her suburban neighborhood. Within minutes I noticed bicyclist and joggers crossing the street and heading down a path, I came to find out was named the Monon Rail Trail. This course of exercise routes stretches from the north end of the city over more than ten miles between backyard residential communities to downtown Indianapolis.
A culture of pleasantries
For an entire week I walked 2 – 4 miles every morning amongst the other peaceful exercisers on the rail. The Monon has its own culture and rules of courtesy. There’s the smile and head nod as you approach a passerby. Dogs have manners and walk on a short leash. Then there’s the friendly, “On your left,” bicyclist use to warn pedestrians they’re about to whisk by. The asphalt trail is maintenanced daily by the city, but its natural beauty of trees and bushes are left to appear uninhabited. The perfect conditions for mental and physical rehabilitation I desperately needed.
Fitting into others space
New lessons in life are more rare as I get older, but those repeat lessons are reinforced daily as in that first Sunday’s late afternoon walk. It just wasn’t the same. There were literally ten times as many users bustling the rail. Hardly anyone used the rules I had come accustomed to. And the friendly smiles and eye contact from earlier in the week were nowhere to be found. This was clearly a different breed of which I didn’t fit in. Or was it that they didn’t fit.
iShape the world I live in
The experience made me think about how others affect my world. Yeah, I wondered why that bicyclist with more than 100 meters of space between the two of us and the person ahead felt it was a good time to spit in my direction after passing by. And I must admit it was a challenge to keep smiling when others didn’t smile back. I was tempted to give up and close into my own little space like everyone else. After all there was plenty of stuff going on in my head that I was using the Monon Rail to get away from. When the world doesn’t acknowledge my role as equal I realized that as an individual I still contribute to shaping the world as it tries to shape me.
I’m reminded of an adage my mother mailed over seas to me more than 30 years ago, “Use your head to get along. To get along use your head.” Words to live by. Thank you mother.
Stay focused. Stay confident and believe you shape our world.
LiLTweeks (Lessons I Learned This Week) is a weekly observation of some problems I’ve encountered and possible actions for resolve. If you have been inspired from this article please leave a comment and consider subscribing to the RSS (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader [look for Weekend Post].