walk this way

Since spring arrived, it's been a mission of mine to walk slower.

My love for walking was born in the eighties, when Debbie and I and our kids went for walks every day.  The thing is, back then, we were walking along an unpaved country road.  Our little caravan: she and I walking, taking turns pushing Jared in his stroller, Carly and Kelsey and Chad on their bikes up ahead, owned the road.  We walked fast for health.  But for mental health, we stopped to smell the wild roses or pick mulberries or admire some wild looking tree or another.  But in between, we walked fast.

I never stopped walking fast.  You can imagine the problem this causes in the heart of a big city. I am affronted by tourists dawdling in front of me, friends stopping to chat in the middle of the sidewalk when I'm trying to get to a hair appointment.  PEOPLE STANDING ON THE ESCALATOR.  I'm bursting to sail around the humanity.  Heaven help the throngs I've cursed at Yonge and Queen or Dundas Square when I've got somewhere to be.  It'll be all my fault when they all die slow and painful deaths. 

These days I'm working on that. I'm consciously slowing my pace; I'm wandering home from the station rather than getting home fast. 

When Debbie and I were walking fast, it was about having the freedom to do so.  These days when I'm walking fast it's about not having freedom.  Clearly I'm going about getting it in the wrong way.

Walking slower and feeling freer.  I'm working on that these days.


  1. Reply
    Little hat June 3, 2011

    love your ongoing subway references. They really play a role in framing some of these stories. Walking is great. especially when it’s fpr pleasure.

  2. Reply
    tess kincaid June 3, 2011

    I am naturally a very slow walker. Maybe it’s a Libra thing?

  3. Reply
    Jennifer June 4, 2011

    Yes – it is great when it’s for pleasure. And it’s good for you, even when you’re walking for pleasure. In a week’s time when I’m walking home from work every day, I plan to make a conscious effort to slow down and take a different way every day. After all, it’ll be two hours earlier than it has been for the past several years!

  4. Reply
    Jennifer June 4, 2011

    Maybe. (?) Maybe I should find a slow walker to walk with, and “train” me!

  5. Reply
    Susan Tiner June 4, 2011

    Slow walking would definitely be hard for me! I’m like you, wanting to sail around humanity, frustrated with the slow pokes.

  6. Reply
    Jennifer June 4, 2011

    Susan, today I was walking around the city and working on the “OOOOHHHMMMMMMMM” strategy. It’s going to take some time.

  7. Reply
    Jeff Griffiths June 4, 2011

    I’ve been catching up on your posts Jennifer. Good stuff about slowing down. A while back I was in Home Depot buying supplies for a job and the cashier apologized for the slow debit machine.” I said, “I don’t think anyone including myself is in a life or death situation here as they’re buying lumber and gardening supplies.” She laughed and we ended up talking for a few minutes, and now when I go into the store we say hello to each other and share a few words. I don’t use self check outs because I like to talk to a person, even if it’s just to say “Thank you”

  8. Reply
    Jennifer June 7, 2011

    I love that Jeff. Once, back in university, a prof asked us to consider how the social world was changing because of “new” technologies like telephone registration (this was before online registration); how maybe we saw the experience of standing in line to register for courses inconvenient, but there was a social aspect to it which is now gone. Anyway, you’re right – slowing down and paying attention certainly adds to quality of life. I agree with that whole-heartedly.

  9. Reply
    Selma June 8, 2011

    I alternate between slow and fast but it seems to be the way of things that when you are in a hurry there are slow people blocking your way and when you are dawdling people are practically climbing over you to get past you. I enjoy taking my time when I can – there is so much to see!

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