If you’ve thought the words, “I wish I could just…”, followed directly by the words, “…but what would people think?”, then congratulations, you are part of the human race.
My day started out well enough. I woke up in a good mood. I did Saturday-ish stuff.
Along about midday I started getting frustrated with a project.
Then I started getting antsy from sitting around all day. My muscles felt like they needed to move. I am participating in a Fitness Challenge at work that encourages us to make stretches and simple exercises part of our day, so I did some exercises in front of the tv.
While I was Tree Posing to Dancing With The Stars, I turned to face the back door. It looked beautiful outside. The 70-degree breeze was blowing through the screen. My stretching felt good, but it wasn’t enough.
My mind felt like it needed to get out and run off some energy.
My lungs felt like they needed to expand with air.
I felt restless.
I’ve cut back on my walking lately. I walk for 10 minutes or so over lunch break during the work week, but in the evenings and on the weekends I’ve stopped.
I’ve been having problems with my joints. I still enjoy walking, but I never know exactly when my body is going to tell me it’s time to stop. That has become a big motivation barrier for me. I don’t feel like putting on “work-out clothes”, getting in my car, and driving down to the park trail, only to find out it’s a day where I can only walk for five minutes before my body warns me to stop. Or worse, find myself stranded a mile from my car.
As I looked outside, I thought, “I wish I could just put on my shoes, walk out the door, and walk laps around the backyard for as long as I can. But…what would people think?”
I live right along a busy, four-lane street. There are dozens of houses around. People everywhere. Wouldn’t it look weird for me to be walking in circles around my backyard? Who does that?
Suddenly my urge not only to walk, but to stop being held back by unnecessary fear, prompted a more important question.
Why do I care?
I paused the DVR, walked directly to put my shoes on, then right out the back door without thinking any further.
My backyard was as good as any trail I could have driven to. There were dozens of birds strutting around. One of my apple trees is beginning to blossom. There were pine cones here and there, scattered by the wind. The sun was setting beautifully into the treetops.
Cars did stream past me by the dozens as I walked parallel to the four-lane road. Somebody honked. Repeatedly. I’m not sure if it was complimentary or creepy. Either way, after glancing down to verify I hadn’t walked out of the house in my pajamas, I decided I didn’t care why someone had honked at me, and continued my stride.
I have no idea how many laps I took, but I walked for 24 minutes, according to my fitbit, so it was a lot of laps.
And it felt great! My lungs got the workout they needed and I let go of my stress. I walked until my elbows starting hurting enough I felt I should stop. And you know what? When I reached the point where I needed to stop, I just walked right back in the door. I wasn’t a mile away. I didn’t have to drive back home.
I did what I needed to do for me. And it was a turning point.
I didn’t care what people driving by thought.
I didn’t care if people in their houses were looking out their windows wondering why on earth that crazy lady was walking in circles around her backyard.
I WANT TO BE THAT CRAZY LADY WALKING IN CIRCLES AROUND HER BACKYARD!
Turns out, when I think about it, I would love to be a lady of lore.
The lady people ask the neighbors about. “Hey, Mable, do you know why that lady on the corner walks around her yard in circles?”
The lady people develop stories about, because they must have an explanation. “Maybe she doesn’t have a car to drive to the park?”
The lady they chuckle at, but secretly think is kind of cool.
Maybe another lady who is wishing she could walk around her backyard will see me out her window and feel like she’s been given permission to do the same.
You never know when you’re going to inspire someone. Even with a simple action.
Somebody always has to be first. Why not you? Why not give others permission to follow you?
I’m sure I’m not the first person ever to walk in circles around her yard, but I felt like I was.
And it was empowering.
Whatever positive thing you are thinking about doing for yourself right now, big or small, that you’re hesitating on because of what people might think…
BE THE CRAZY PERSON.
You will not regret it.