A walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells. – Patrick Leigh Fermor
I’m so obsessed with the topic of walking and writing I should write a book on it. Duncan Minshull did. In his book Beneath My Feet: Writers on Walking, Minshull includes a letter that Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote to his niece in 1847. In it he declares:
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”
These words could have been my mantra last year. In 2020 I committed to walking for exercise for at least 30 minutes every single day – in spite of the fact that I was going through breast cancer treatments. And I stuck with it. I walked just hours after my lumpectomy. I walked after surgery for my chemotherapy port placement. I walked after my first chemotherapy treatment and I walked on the days when chemo made 30 minutes feel like 30 miles. I was even quoted in Oprah magazine because of my walking challenge!
In addition to faith, family, and friends, the things that got me through cancer were walking and writing. And therefore, I believe I can walk and write my way through anything. And I am convinced that walking and writing go hand-in-hand.
Last year I decided that my fitness goal for 2020 would be to walk for exercise every day for 366 consecutive days. So far, I’ve stuck with this despite having a medical procedure in January and outpatient surgery just last week. On February 26, I had surgery that morning and still went for a walk that afternoon.
Am I saying you should follow in my footsteps and walk
around your neighborhood while doped up on Percocet? Of course not! I recognize
and accept that I’m a crazy person. But I am saying you should be deeply
committed to your goals and to your success and not just interested in it.
Though walking every day is a fitness goal, doing so for the past two months has taught me a lot about what it will take to accomplish my writing goals, too.
I currently weigh more than I ever have in my entire life. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind the number I see when I step on the scale if I were happy with the body I see when I stand in the mirror. (Even when I looked my best and had six-pack abs, I weighed much more than anyone, including my doctors, thought I did.) But I am woefully disappointed with both.