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Sunday 20 September 2009

A Walk to the Park ... or Not

Today I went for a walk with my bf. I have recently moved to a new part of town (finally sharing a house with friends rather than living in uni halls which I hated) and thought that having a random wander might be the best way to enjoy my new surroundings. I knew there was a park nearby and so we left with the theory that we could try and find it. Honestly, I wasn't that bothered.

Of course, thanks to my M.E I can't completely enjoy the freedom of random walks as I have to be aware of how far I am from somewhere where I can completely rest if it gets too much. The las thing I want is to be stranded, lost and unable to walk any further.

Perhaps that is the reason I have such great sense of direction. And I'm not actually bragging about that - it might take me a moment to work out how to get back but I usually know which direction to head in, even if I can't tell you the exact roads you should be going on.

So we went for the walk. We had a short discussion about which way the park was (as it happens, we never made it to the park but I still believe I was right'ish'). He was worried that we might get lost, but as I've said I have good sense of direction. Also, I kind of wanted to get lost. That was the whole point of the escapade. To find somewhere new and not need to worry about where we were going or how we were going to get back. I knew that I wouldn't get really lost unless I wanted to, I wanted to enjoy the walk. Once I worked that out, the walk became much more enjoyable, more of a ramble with decent company.

But it also got me thinking about life. So many of us start life with a plan, an exact route to follow, like a road map (did I mention he wanted to google the directions). Of course, this philosophy is fine if it all goes to plan, but when something unexpectedly crops up, we become lost. I am not suggesting we start blindly stepping into life - though that's how it can often feel - but become more flexible with our plans. Don't assume that you can dictate your life, if you do this, you'll miss the scenery and to be honest, I feel that's kind of a waste. In the end we all die. (OK, so that may have been excessively blunt but it's true.) The point to life isn't to get to the finishing line with everything, but to enjoy everything that is happening at the time. I realise that if you're depressed, or something not that great is happening at the moment, this will seem harsh - how are you supposed to enjoy it? Again, I don't mean 'enjoy' in the sense of enjoyment, more in the sense of allowing yourself to notice everything and take it as it comes, learning from experiences and actually experiencing them rather than closing off and only focusing on what you want. By all means do this, but don't panic when it goes wrong and certainly don't forget to see the scenery.

1 comment:

Kess said...

Good blog, and very true! I like the analogy you made between your walk, and life itself, and it's really made me think.

I believe we need some direction in life. A few years ago the prospect of the future used to terrify me, because I couldn't see my direction, and had no inkling of what was ahead.

Now that I have some idea of what's ahead, I'm not afraid anymore. I know that in the midst of my plans, there will be surprises, unexpected turns, but I'm not opposed to those, as they make life all the more exciting. As you said, I think it's fun to go out and 'get lost', exploring unfamiliar roads to see where they will take you. It's good to have plans, but not good to let them consume you because you become consumed with fulfilling those, rather than actually enjoying the one short life we've been given.

And despite the plans we formulate, we really don't know what's lying around the corner, or on the path ahead. I know it's a cliche but when I go out tomorrow my bus could crash, and my life could be over immediately. Obviously I hope that doesn't happen, but it just goes to show that life itself is, in some respects, a step into the unknown.

Sorry this response has become a bit of a ramble. I hope it makes sense!