When I was a kid, I wasn’t the most well adjusted. I lived in a place and in a family that didn’t provide many activities. I spent a LOT a time reading and walking. I did go so far as to try and read and walk at the same time, long before people were walking into ponds while texting. I spent a lot of time walking after dark, year round. Of course, here in the northeast, during the winter, walking at night means walking at 5 pm! Walking at night has an extremely romantic feel. It generates the feeling of being the outsider, of being dangerous, of being the “cat who walks by itself”. You walk past the well lit windows, seeing all the cozy, pretty scenes in people’s homes. You feel like the only one enjoying something that others know nothing about, or fear.
The last few days, I got to relive some of that romanticism by snowshoeing and cross country skiing at night. I can’t really say in the dark, what drew me out was a moon so bright that everything cast a shadow. Beyond the moon, we have not had good weather for winter sports in a long time. I work 9-5, or so, making the time to do these things very limited. Going out there at time when everyone else is settling in to their tv’s and computers rekindled that feeling of becoming part of a hidden and special world. It was so breathtakingly beautiful. The quiet was awe inspiring, the only noise a far off plane. You don’t get cold while being that active, in fact while skiing I got a bit too warm.
While out enjoying this, I wished I could share it with others. So many people think the only way to “escape” is to turn a box on. Can I make a suggestion? If you aren’t happy with your weight, or your fitness level, add up how many hours you spend a week in front of a screen between your computer, tablet, tv, gameboy, wii, etc., etc. Take 1/2 those hours and just walk. Go to your local park and hike. You don’t even need snowshoes, after a few ‘shoers have been through, it’s all packed down anyway. If it’s dark, take a friend and walk well lit, public places. After that, learn a new physical skill- like snowshoeing. I realize a lot of skills require money, but if you spend money on casinos, eating out, video games and movies, then you have some discretionary income to spend on something good for you. There are so many things you haven’t experienced, take just some of the time you spend watching other people live their lives and do something live, in person. What does your street look like in the rain? In the snow? Pick one new thing to try. If you hate it, drop it and try something else. Check out your local paper. People with passions are eager to share them. You’d be surprised at the number of free events where you can learn and try new things. I learned how to spin at our local art center. Friends of mine lent me the equipment to get started cross country skiing. I learned lots of my skills from the local library. Life is out there, you only get one on this earth, why waste it sitting on your duff, doing nothing?
The next time you look out your window, and the moon is lighting up your yard, go out there and experience it. Just try it. Don’t waste this precious gift of life, living some kind of half life.