Starting Easy: Walking Is Enough

Many times when we set a personal goal for ourselves--something like Outside 365--we dramatically overcomplicate the parameters of the goal. As I outlined my challenge, I asked myself: "Is simply being active outside enough? Should I add some other aspect to my goal to make it more meaningful?”

Then I realized: we often think that making things in our lives more complicated automatically imbues them with more value. In fact, the exact opposite is true: the simplest things in life are usually the most meaningful.

For many people reading this, who may not be athletes (currently) but are drawn to the idea of physically reconnecting with nature everyday, the idea of riding a bike for an hour or running a mile may be overwhelming. It may seem physically impossible at this point. It may actually be physically impossible.

To just such a person, I have this to say: just go for a walk. Walking is enough.

The more complex a challenge, the more likely that you'll feel the burden of overwhelm and buckle under the pressure. It's always easier to make a goal more complex or nuanced as you go. But to get there, you need to start somewhere.

A limiting reality in my life over the last three years has been a series of serious injuries. Most recently, just over two months ago, I had my second surgery to reconstruct the ACL in my right knee. For me, it is currently physically impossible (or at least inadvisable, according to my docs) to run, hike, ride a bike (except on a trainer) -- you name it. But the one thing I can do? I can walk.

I've been walking a lot during the first few weeks of this challenge. On one hand, it seems mundane--can't I even be on a trail? But then as I slowly inhale and exhale, allowing the stress to depart my body, I pick my gaze up from the gravel in front of my shoes and look around. I look at the mountains--unusually bare for this time of year. I notice the wooden fence, with the dried bark peeling off from the relentless punishment of the Colorado sun. I breath in the sweet scent of the ponderosa pines all around me. 

As I drink in the world around me, I realize: for now, walking is enough. Bigger adventures are on the horizon, but for now--I will walk.

Day 17