After I retired, I started making some annual goals. (Before I retired, I focused on getting through the work week.) These goals are in broad categories (health, financial, personal). Don’t worry, I am not going to itemize these. Not only do I not want the accountability that comes from “going public,” I also like that they are mine alone.
I will reveal a couple, however. On the health side, I have a goal to walk more. Not merely taking a leisurely or even a power walk, but walking to my errands. My hometown is quite walkable and I live within walking distance of most of the places I frequent. It is a source of some embarrassment that my last office was about a 15 minute walk from my house but in the several years I was in that location, I walked to work exactly 3 times. There were extenuating circumstances (aka excuses) such as the fact I carried a lot of stuff (gym bag, laptop, purse) and on most days I worked in two different locations. But still.
The weather has finally cooperated and I have managed a few walking errands. Not as many as I could, but I’ve walked to the Y, to the bank, etc. I am finding that this goal pays me back – besides saving on parking meters, I can catch up on podcasts and it allows me to practice one of my other top goals: mindfulness. Sometimes while walking I can concentrate on what I feel, what I see, what I hear and what I smell and revel in the noticing.I know mindfulness has reached fad status, but there is a lot to said for slowing your thoughts and being in the moment. I am really not proficient, but I am getting better at being able to ward off obsessive thoughts and sometimes am able to remind myself to focus on the here-and-now and appreciate whatever I am doing. Much has written about mindfulness and its links to happiness, to sleep quality and self-control. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to practice my goals. It was a gorgeous day and I set out to pick up some pay-as-you-throw garbage bags and thank you notes at the nearby Rite Aid. I felt the rhythm of my feet striking the sidewalk and noticed my hips were tight from yesterday’s workout. I heard the traffic competing with birdsong and, more distantly, the hum of a lawn mower. The smell of just-blossoming lilacs all but overwhelmed the grace notes of exhaust fumes, apple blossoms and earth. I saw other walkers and their dogs, a traffic holdup at the intersection and several choices of thank you cards.
Returning home after this successful convergence of two of my goals, it was easy to feel smug. Alas, pride cometh before a fall and/or don’t try to do two things at once, because when I went to remove my sneakers, I realized I had put on, tied and walked a mile in two entirely different shoes.