Life Rule #3393: Take a Hike....Or a Walk
Alright! We’re going to try something fresh tonight kids, because they tell us that there’s a first time for everything; makes sense. Let’s see where this next new segment dubbed “Warm Fuzzies” takes us. As you might expect, the name implies a few healthy tugs on the old heart strings. The aim of these particular posts rests upon a bull’s eye consisting of love, loss, empathy, emotion, and anything else in life which stands a good chance at giving us the “Warm Fuzzies”.
Merriam-Webster’s plural noun definition looks a little something like this:
Warm Fuzzies: feelings of happiness, contentment, or sentimentality
Mmmm, I like that. Let’s go about doing our best to scoop up some of those fuzzies. Here we go!
Nod your head if you’ve heard or said any of the following:
“Did you see blank last night?!”
“Have you seen blank yet?!”
“I caught up on the final two seasons last night.”
Screw the generational vernacular we’ve all come to know and love. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y, and eventually Z; and let’s not forget about Millennials. We can chuck all of those labels into a melting pot with the end product looking more like Generation Binge. Television shows, social media, Starbucks. Today we’re built for mass consumption, and unfortunately we’ve become damn good at it. Don’t be fooled, for I am not one of those righteous “shout it from the top of the mountain” types. I’ve fallen victim to the Venus flytrap that is streaming services. Netflix is incredible, albeit incredibly destructive. This post isn’t another rant about the “good old days”, when we used to have to wait as an entire week went by before we were graced with another one of our favorite episodes; it’s also not going to harp on how much of our time is wasted thumbing through completely useless media content. Sure, if I know myself as well as I’d like to think, we’ll still treat you all to a few digs here and there, but for the most part I’d like to focus more on what we could, or rather SHOULD, be doing as alternatives to all of the soul-sucking that’s been going on as of late.
With full transparency and my weak attempt at a disclaimer, much of what you read from here on out will be based on personal experiences/revelations, but I’d be willing to bet most of us encounter similar circumstances.
There are simple actions we can take in our lives which render positive results. Shockingly, none of these activities involve screen time of any sort. So let’s go ahead and jump right into the subject, which also happens to populate our title for today’s entry. WALKING.
I’m not going to bore anyone with the multitude of health benefits associated with walking, but if you’re curious, here’s an informative article for your perusal. In today’s society I feel as though we’re inundated with all the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercise we can handle; so in the aftermath, something as beneficial as walking falls by the wayside, when in fact it’s a great way to keep those fascinating bodies of ours in tip-top shape. “You go on walks?! What a tool.” Hardly. Now I’m in no way dogging some grueling workouts here and there, for I too enjoy slipping a few sweat-inducing sessions into my weekly routine, however another trait we seem to be embracing is the need to accomplish the extreme. There are too many “one-uppers” out there.
“Oh, you biked 25 miles while climbing a thousand vertical feet? That’s cute. I did 60 miles while ascending 2,500 feet. Sorry about my superhuman abilities.”
Put a lid on that shit. Your accomplishments are truly impressive, yet what deflates all of your successes is your completely unnecessary need to jam them down our throats. Push yourself to your capacities and bask in the glow of said achievements on your own time, just not mine. My entire point is this: it’s phenomenal that you skied 40,000 vertical feet in one day, but it’s equally impressive if you were able to rip off an hour’s worth of downhill time on nothing but green runs. We’re all different, so naturally we all have differing scales which we measure our goals against. So while jogging five miles seems a proverbial cake walk for one person might mean a two mile walk at a brisk pace for another. Both folks are kicking ass in their own way.
Dammit, I fear I’ve gone and gotten off-track again. Accept my apologies and let’s get back to some of the psychological benefits of pounding the pavement. Allow me to share some of the advantages I’ve begun to observe while opting to head out for a walk instead of hunkering down for a four episode binge session. COMMUNICATION. We miss out on so much of each other’s lives when we immerse ourselves into all of these fictional story lines and characters. We’re limiting our capacity for human interaction, and that’s sad because it’s such a wonderful experience. You ask me if I can believe what happened to Character A at the end of the hit series B when I really couldn’t give two shits. I’m good for one shit. I understand and admittedly get behind a few of the popular shows circulating out there today, but as I continue working toward pulling myself further away from the make-believe, I’m discovering the things that REALLY matter. Embarking on nightly walks has done wonders for my marriage. Instead of sitting together in silence, slowly losing brain matter one episode at a time, we’re out on the streets chatting with one another. It’s been amazing. You think you know someone? Leave the phones at home, pop on some sneakers, and take a whole shitload of steps towards fortifying your relationship. And why limit yourself to your better half? Extend the invite to other family members, friends, your neighborhood mailman! Meeting up at your local watering hole won’t cut it either, I’m afraid. Although I’ll never oppose such a suggestion, it’s best if you can limit the distractions. We’ve all got an entire treasure chest of stuff we’re dying to share with someone; it’s human nature. What isn’t natural is staring blankly at a glowing screen, night in and night out, while your life loses more and more meaning with every new program you subscribe to.
Let’s circle back to the topic of consumption. Food, material things, empty content; that list is longer than a line of nut jobs waiting for ANOTHER new iPhone to come out, speaking of material bullshit. I truly believe we all know we’re guiding our moral compasses toward the eighth circle of Hell and deeper. None of the aforementioned examples provide our souls with the wholesomeness they crave. I imagine it’d be homogeneous to filling your cereal bowl with heavy whipping cream in lieu of some 2% or even almond milk, if you’re into that sort of thing….which I am. Why do I need to have thousands of “experts” all tell me why I need to buy the furniture they’re pitching, or how cool some stranger’s parasailing trip went, or whether or not one of the Kardashians made a fool of themselves yet again? Do you want to know how many of those cases affect my life, or yours? The answer is a visible goose egg. ZERO. Yet we can’t help but give in to that gravitational pull of thumb-scrolling horseplay.
What do you think REALLY matters? How your husband’s feeling after that little argument you had this morning. How your parents are handling being newly knighted empty-nesters. How a friend’s handling the death of a loved one. Don’t be silly, you sure as shit can extrapolate that list to incalculable proportions, and that’s the point; there’s simply so many other things we can fill our hearts and our minds with that don’t involve a fucking screen.
So tell those gadgets to take a hike and get to walking. Health benefits: check. Emotional benefits: check again. Opportunities to stumble upon a historic flash mob? You bet your sweet little ass.
It’s been a pleasure counseling you tonight and being allowed to join you on your journey through time and space. Now if you don’t mind rising up off that couch, I have another session starting in a few minutes and I need to refill my coffee. My therapy sessions are open door policy, so don’t be timid! Swing on through for some good old fashion chit-chatter whenever you find an opening.
In the meantime, I’ll be seeing you out on the streets. Night lovelies.