Still Walking after All These Years

It’s early Wednesday afternoon. I just sat down after crossing the 8000-step mark on my way to today’s 10,000. There’s a reason I stopped to write this. A few minutes ago, I passed the 19-million mark! That adds up to 8114 miles and 32.64% of the earth’s circumference. One step at a time. (Notice I didn’t round up to 33%. I don’t round up, not when I’m counting words, and not when I’m counting steps!)

I did inside steps today and yesterday both. When I’m outside on my “running track” front driveway, I can march off a mile in 31 minutes flat. Today, inside, the same distance took 45 minutes. What’s the difference? Outside, my route includes long straightaways as well as some gentle curves and big circles. My inside route includes lots of tight corners and small circles which will become even smaller once the Christmas decorations go up. Yesterday and today, however, with alternating flurries of snow and sleet, inside steps are the order of the day.

That’s the result of hard-won experience. Several years ago, I was outside marching away when I noticed that the front driveway was frosting up. Deciding to finish walking inside, I came in through the front door and started toward our bedroom. Unfortunately, the soles of my Skechers were still icy. Once I set floor on the slick entryway tile, I went airborne and did a close reenactment of a Wonder Woman flight. I was pretty much horizontal at eye level when my face sideswiped the door jamb. Then I tumbled to the floor. I hit hard enough that the silver chain on my necklace broke and disappeared, never to reappear, not even when we removed the carpet and installed hardwood a year or two later. And guess what? That year someone gave me a Wonder Woman tee-shirt for Christmas!

I’m not one to take selfies, but I took one the next morning. I’m not posting it for good reason. There’s not a doubt in my mind that it would instantly go viral. It would also frighten small children, but trust me, the resulting bruises were spectacular. So no, when it’s slushy outdoors, I walk inside, tight corners or not.

As I walk along in my comfortable shoes with their arch-support insoles, I often think about the people who suffered their way through the Bataan Death March. I doubt most of those poor folks had shoes at all as they trudged through the jungle. A couple I knew in Bisbee were part of that, and I know that being without shoes was probably among the least of their hardships.

I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been doing my steps—six years now or maybe seven. The doctor who first put me onto this path has long since retired. And I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep it up. When I’m out where I know the territory, I can walk at a pretty good clip, but when I’m in unfamiliar places, I’m a bit tottery—not a “little old lady” but a “tottery” one.

And now that I’ve written this down, I’ll get up and finish. By the time the day is over, I’ll have a small down payment on the next benchmark—twenty million steps here I come.