We moved to Dillon Beach 10 years ago and when we did we met the previous owners of our house. He was a fit and trim man in his 70’s and as we were talking he said what he would miss most was his daily walk to the post office. We get all our mail delivered to post office boxes so the only way to gat the mail is to go pick it up. The post office is about a mile from the house and it is down a very steep and curvy hill. Well I said to myself at the time that this would be a worthy fitness goal for me to hold, and so I promptly spent the next ten years resisting taking that walk. Oh sure I walked down the hill to the beach some and I walked a couple of times down and back when I was starting some fitness thing like walking a marathon back in 2002. But I never established a “practice” of walking to the post office to bring the mail and collect the mail and walking back. As I am getting into this whole Spark People thing and living in the realization that I am really committing, no kidding, to consciousness around food and exercise and not only to consciousness but to moderation and restraint with food and to actually doing exercise, including 10,000 steps a day. Well you can’t get 10,000 steps in a day just walking to and from the toilet and the fridge, you have to get your butt out on the road for at least part of the day. I also am quite done with beginning an “exercise” program only to be distracted and bored or some other pathetic excuse that I give myself for stopping. So I decided that I need to have a practical reason for exercising, yes I know that this too is easily talked away by my inner critics. Can’t you already hear them nattering away at me? This practical reason is being the mail man for the house. I will take outgoing mail down to the post office and pick up incoming mail (so please keep most of your communications with me on email :-)) The walk is about 20 minutes down hill and I can feel the knees, legs and ankles working hard to keep me from rolling down the hill, and about 25 minutes or 30 if I stop to catch my breath, let my heart slow down a bit and take in the amazing sunrise coming up over the ocean and bringing a bit of yellow to a blue world.
Now I had to talk myself into starting this walk this morning that I intend to walk every morning of every day that I live in this house. Oh sure there will be exceptions ( I had to say that to quiet down those pesky guys in the back of my head who are laughing hysterically at that statement). I had to have it be the focus of the conversation that Karen and I had in the hot tub yesterday as I worked my way through all the excuses and reasons not to and realized what a big baby I am about these things and that it is time to grow up already. So I went to bed last night fully prepped for the sloggyness and resistance I would have in the morning and had the commitment turned on full blast so with bleary eyes I stumbled my way into my clothes and mumbled my way into my cool shoes with the toes in them that feel like you are walking barefoot but can be a pain in the butt to put on. Wiping the sleep out of my eyes I grabbed the mail to be posted and headed out the door into the moonlit morning at 6:35am and headed out the driveway and down the first hill and up the second, teaser hill, to the first turn in the road and the REAL DEAL HILL. I took a deep breath and let all the gents inside screech out their insults and jeers and then started walking down the hill. My shoes were doing great, my ankles, knees, legs and all the rest of me were doing fine. I started having a few morning sneezes, coughs and air hankies all of which caused the gents to throw up all sorts of warnings about having a cold and I shouldn’t be walking in the cold morning air with a cold. I kept walking and then before I knew it I was at the post office where I proudly deposited my letters, unlocked an released the mail in my box and recycled the junk mail and headed back out for the climb up.
I have dreaded for 10 years this climb. Oh sure I had done it reluctantly several times in the last 10 years, or I had done it to show what a good and fit guy I was, performance oriented though it was. Here I was, however establishing a practice for myself. I was at the bottom of the hill and the only way back to the house was to walk up the dang hill. Even my inner voices knew that and as they started to hum the funeral dirge I started walking. I climbed the little hill outside the post office and was already breathing hard but had a nice little down stretch followed by a flat one, but I could see it up ahead curving up and away from me, THE HILL. I crossed over the last speed bump in the road and then I was on it. One step at time and I was up and around the first bend and doing fine. I took a nice pause and watched the dawn happening in the east and the darkness still out over the ocean with an almost full moon hanging up in the sky lighting the world. I waited for my breath to slow a bit and headed up around the next turn, I rounded it and was headed up the last and steepest stretch to the place where I turned off onto my road and I took another pause this time to watch the sun pop over the hill and the golden light settle on Tomales Point across the bay. Breath caught up and over the crest and the victorious steps back to the house. Practice begun and HILL conquered.
Now to do it tomorrow.