If you’ve ever read my blog, you know I’ve tortured myself for years with a seeming inability to live the life that I envision for myself. And here I am at 51 still trying to get myself moving in the right direction. But today, instead of lamenting all my failures and whining about my not being able to follow through with my life plans, it’s all changing.
I fell in love with this town because of its gorgeous architecture and proximity to the mountains. I’ve stayed in this town because I’ve grown to like the people and the quality of life. And I can say with great certainty that I never plan on moving again.
What I didn’t appreciate at the beginning is just how walkable this town is. I’d commuted to work and/or school for so long, I never considered walking anywhere. It just isn’t how I lived my life before, and I really didn’t plan to change.
Once I found a job downtown that I really love, I saw my “commute” differently. The absurdity of driving 0.8 miles to and from work started to kick in. Every once in a while I’d walk to work, then quit citing one excuse or another. Then I’d just go back to my old ways.
It happened just a few weeks ago when my car was in the shop for a week. I happily walked to work for a couple of days, then started to get nervous about being without transportation and asked for a loaner. I gave in then, but I’m not doing it now. I just can’t wait to start doing the right thing.
I started walking again on Monday. In the rain. I absolutely loved it. I saw people I knew, met some great dogs, and saw some beautiful gardens. Of course, it was all downhill. Going home was another matter. It was still overcast, and I could not face the walk uphill. I opted instead for a trolley ride home (we even have a public transportation system here!!) All told it should have taken me about a half hour to get home. But for some reason, I chose to get off one stop before the one nearest my house. I got home a full hour after leaving work only to find I’d just walked nearly the same distance I would have from the office (0.7 miles). Umph.
I walked to and from work yesterday without a hitch. Come to find out the uphill walk home was only 20 minutes and barely took my breath. That’s substantially less time and effort than I was putting in to driving to the YMCA, walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes, then driving home.
After all that chatter, this isn’t really about walking to work. It’s about beating automobile dependency. It’s about being present in my life, supporting small businesses, talking to folks on the streets, and petting a few dogs along the way.
It will take a while for me to figure out how to completely ditch my car. There will be emergencies, of course, and some random shopping. But what I’m finding is that by combining small business shopping with large delivery services, I can get 99% of what I need without ever getting into a car. The idea of actually getting rid of my car for good? Priceless.
Let the social experiment begin!!