Taking a walk used to be one of my deep pleasures. I’d head out to Chickamauga Battlefield and walk to my heart’s content.
I walked there year round. Clear, crisp spring days like today meant there would be lots of walkers and runners and bikers out enjoying the weather with me.
But gradually my knees wore out. Walking became so painful that I quit taking long walks. And gradually I quit walking much at all, except a little on a treadmill.
I took a walk today. It was slow, not easy, and tiring. Not even a mile, and I had to stop and sit twice. I lost a lot of muscle after my double knee replacement. I’m having to build back up.
During my walk, I saw people walking the way I used to. Quickly, smoothly, easily.
I hope one day to be back near that – walking easily, smoothly, mostly pain-free.
But I’m not there yet.
Ah, to be young again and be able to walk almost anywhere for almost any length of time. To be able to hike. And to hike even up – and then down – a small mountain!
I notice now that there are lots of people who walk as I do at this point – not as I did when I was young. I see people walking slowly, walking with a cane, walking with a hobble and not a smooth stride.
I see lots of people for whom walking is obviously difficult.
And now I’m one of those – for a while, at least.
Now when I make plans I have to consider how far it is to walk, how long I’ll have to stand, how smooth the terrain is.
But years ago I didn’t have to consider ANY of those things!
I have quite a few friends my age who, even now, don’t have to consider ANY of those things.
I wonder if they know how fortunate they are?
Because often you don’t really realize something until you don’t have it.
I miss walking easily, for a long distance, without pain. What a blessing it was to be able to do that for so many years!
But now I appreciate my hobbling walks – at a very slow pace, with a little pain – probably even more than my long, pain-free walks of youth.
Such is the reward of aging.
More appreciation, less taking-things-for-granted.
All of this learned the hard way. Because if it’s not hard, we don’t learn very well . . . do we?
I don’t. And didn’t.
But now I know. And appreciate a walk.
Even when it’s short and a bit of a struggle.
Because I’m still out on a beautiful day, enjoying myself.
And that’s what matters!