Lazily reaching for my calendar, I was dismayed to be reminded l was void of walking companionship. I lingered between the covers, struggling between going solo on a lengthy walk or being on standby with some walking buddies. After a few unanswered texts, I reluctantly chose the former.
Reflecting on the recent past, I was disheartened to have appeased family members by agreeing to never walking alone. Ever. Little did I realize at that time, how unique my walking ritual was: walking with a partner for eight, and solo walking for a remainder of ten miles. I was blessed to have companionship and the gumption to become my best solo partner. As time moved forward, our morning walks were earlier in the day. I would continue solo in the heat, relishing the quiet, reflective moments while swearing at the sweat droplets. Walking solo was mind-cleansing. An opportunity to reinvent ideas, projects - me.
My worldview narrowed after July’s attack. Walking temporarily stopped. Thoughts were jumbled. Safety (Wikipedia - Safety is the state of being “safe” [from French sauf], the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes) was a sudden, constant worry. Pain, right arm sling, left-hand brace, and a headful of staples further compromised my reality. Realistically, how far could I walk by myself, let alone walk period? Who was I kidding? The promise made in haste, to never walk alone, seemed oh so easy to keep.
As with most things, time and distance provided new perspectives and opportunities. Walks around the park with my husband were a shared occurrence, and brought new hope. Distance was measured by laps. Del Mar Park, our neighborhood hangout, touts an exact mile circumference walking trail. One lap became two, two turned to three. Three miles! Such an accomplishment! Frequency increased, as did the laps. Sneaking off solo occasionally slipped in the mix. Giddily, I would return from those short walks inspired. Some days, I felt child-like as the scolding began. The expression, “let it roll off your back” crept in and found a permanent home in my spirit. Yep. I was gaining confidence.
Sunday’s walk was magical. Out on my own, solo-walking, I meandered around the park, circling three times before deciding to venture to the High Line Canal, my long-lost solo friend. Sure, since July, I’ve been walking this winding path with others. Never alone though. This time was a welcomed experience. Feeling the dirt path beneath my new shoes, I returned to my guiltless gleeful gait. I was back. Me. I felt whole, complete, and healthy. And satisfied. Nothing restores self-confidence like solo walking. A good eight miles brought me back home. A smile on my face, peace in my heart, I was armed with the inevitable (?) “words of wisdom” that I should have walked with someone. Surprised, I was met with a returned smile, love, and acceptance. I guess we all grow in confidence together.
Reminder to self and YOU - walking companionship is needed. Solo walking is needed. The two work hand-in-hand, as walking with others plants seeds that are nurtured when walking alone. Learn from both. Explore your world with both. Grow from both. Enjoy both! And relish in your own solo walking! You won’t regret it one bit!
Debi Hunter Holen
"Walking in gratitude, sanctity returns."