Yesterday afternoon I was feeling quite worn down after a very busy week and a go-go Saturday morning. So I decided to take a nap on the couch and I woke up with an urge to walk. Now I would typically go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for a few reasons. 1) the gym is across from my apartment; 2) I live in Saigon and avoid the heat like the plague; 3) I can happily listen to a podcast to pass the time and not have to worry about a motorbike speeding passed and knocking my swinging elbows (yes I do the mom power walk).
As I was preparing to pick out an interesting podcast to keep me company through my walk, I had a sudden change of mind – I was going to do this “old school”! So I embraced the streets of Saigon with no phone, no music, no treadmill and nobody but me, myself and I. Just to clarify, I live in the suburbs of Saigon, so a quiet walk is almost achievable.
Within the first 100 meters I passed a lady sitting on a bench with her baby. We smiled at each other and I felt refreshed. This was going to be a great walk. A wellness walk! My mind wandered around different thoughts and I entertained some of these giving myself the opportunity to process, something I had neglected to do during the week leading up to this moment. Some thoughts inspired other thoughts and I found myself brainstorming for my future.
A group of construction workers sat on the sidewalk and as I passed by, one of them predictably made a kiss kiss sound. Oh no he didn’t! Yes, he did. Hyped up by endorphins and my internal brainstorming session, I stopped in my tracks, turned to face this group of men and confidently said “Oh, Hello!”. Not only was I annoyed that they **feminist rant alert** objectified me in this manner, but mostly because they completely ruined my wellness walk. Needless to say they were shocked that I confronted them and I continued walking feeling somewhat satisfied at their reaction. They continued to make that sound as I walked on, clearly having nothing better to do with their lives. I let it bother me for perhaps a minute too long thinking of all the ways I could have handled it differently. About 200 steps later, I let it go and continued on my wellness walk.
Perhaps if I had taken headphones, or just stuck to the treadmill, I wouldn’t have had that annoying encounter. I would have been blissfully unaware of those jerks. But then I would never have come up with this pretty cool analogy: As we press on in this journey to better ourselves, we will be faced with negativity, setbacks and challenges. We have very little control over these things, but we do have control over how we respond. We can make a choice to use these experiences to shape us, teach us and better prepare ourselves for the future.
Okay so there are worse things in the world than a bunch of bored construction workers making sounds at a woman passing by. But I used this silly experience to remind myself that it isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. I could have decided after that experience to never go on an “old school” wellness walk again. To just opt for the easier, cooler and most predictable option. But instead, I am going to start incorporating this into my weekly routine because there were so many awesome benefits that came from it.
With that story in your pocket, I encourage you to DISCONNECT. Take the time to go for a walk outside with nothing but your thoughts, ideas, dreams and desires. Give yourself a break from all devices. RECONNECT with yourself.
Below are some other benefits of walking from Prevention.com:
- It gets you to think more creatively
- It helps to reduce belly fat
- It boosts your mood
- It can prevent/delay the onset of varicose veins
- It improves your bowel mobility – who doesn’t want a more regular toilet situation
It can help you to accomplish other goals