Walking Challenge Idea: Memory Lane Walking to School
I'm going to give you an idea of how you can get some walking exercise while at the same time getting in touch with your childhood memories. Warning: philosophical wisdom may result from reading this.
If you have the opportunity to actually go back to where you grew up, taking a walk through your old neighborhood can revive hidden thoughts that linger in your subconscious.
This can actually help you make sense out of lost memories that will enlighten you with a better understanding of your life. I did it by taking a walk in the neighborhood where I grew up. I’d like to share it with you to show what you can learn from the experience.
Take a Walk With Me
A Walking Challenge
I'm an avid hiker and I walk 3 to 6 miles a day, so one day I was thinking about the time when I used to walk to school. My High School was only a mile from my childhood home.
I remember it used to take me 20 minutes to walk to school. Sometimes I took the bus. Sometimes I rode my bicycle. However, many times I just liked to walk to school in the morning and back home afterwards. That was about 50 years ago, and decided to experience that again.
Down Memory Lane
So, I drove to my old neighborhood and parked my car by the house where I grew up. I got out of my car and first looked at that familiar house, remembering many fond experiences in and around that home.
Then I started on my journey along the sidewalk, following the same path I took almost 50 years earlier.
The sights and sounds were very familiar, as if nothing had changed. Basically it was the same homes, cars parked along the same streets, the sound of a bus going by at times, and birds tweeting in the trees.
The lawns and shrubs were well-kept and trimmed just as they were back in the days when I had been growing up there. Whoever lived there now continued to take great care of their property.
Life doesn't just happen to us. We make it what it is.
I lived in a well-to-do neighborhood, but didn't have any idea of what that meant when I was a child. It became clear to me, as I walked along, that I'm greatful for the choices my parents had made.
Every little decision one makes in life has a tremendous effect on one's future, and even more so on the future of their children's lives. We tend to take this for granted.
Most of us never even consider how we got to where we are now. We never know the reason for our existence and the part we play on the lives of others and the world we live in.
I became aware of the fact that we design our own lives. Life doesn't just happen to us. We make it what it is, with the choices we make, with the friends we keep, with the places we move to and live in, with the interests we develop, and with the person we choose to be with as a team partner through it all.
What We Can Learn from Trees
As I continued walking along, I noticed that the trees were bigger, some much bigger than I remember.
Trees show us the power of perseverance. They grow quite a bit in 50 years. And they basically survive through harsh winters and intense storms. I began to get in touch with feelings of my own perseverance.
I continued walking block after block, thinking about the years that had gone by, what I accomplished and what I failed at.
A mile is only about 20 city blocks. It takes about 20 minutes to walk a mile at a normal human pace of 120 steps per minute.
It dawned on me that the same applies to everything we do or attempt to do. We take baby steps with everything we wish to accomplish. The steps add up minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, and year-by-year. We can accomplish our goal. No matter what it is, it gets done. We just need to walk the walk.
Choices People Make
As I reached the halfway point, I noticed I was passing the home of a childhood girlfriend. I wondered if she were still there. I thought about what she might look like now. Would I recognize her? Would she recognize me?
How silly, I thought, to be thinking of such things. After all, 50 years had passed. Most certainly she would be long gone from that neighborhood, living somewhere else in a new life, with new friends, possibly with a family of her own.
Thinking more along those lines, I thought about other friends who once lived along the path I was walking. I was wondering:
- Where were they now?
- How had their lives changed since those high school days?
- What experiences did they have?
- What choices did they make?
- What struggles did they have since I last saw them?
- Did they survive?
Remembering Those School Days
I'm now only a few blocks away from my old school. My thoughts turned inward as I applied the same thoughts to my own life, as if I had removed myself from my body and observed myself, judging my life’s decisions.
I suddenly realized the wisdom of my thoughts. I'm looking at my past from the present. Analyzing my prior decisions with the clarity of my present state of mind.
It came to my attention that what I had been missing all along was the idea of doing it the other way around.
I've been using my present state of mind to analyze my future plans based on the options I had along the way. I should have changed my thoughts to a different perspective.
I could have considered the future based on what I wanted to make it, without limiting myself to present options. It took me 65 years to figure that out! If you can change your thoughts, you can actually change your life!
Here I am. I made it to my old school. It looks the same. I walked around the entire school and envisioned myself entering and leaving through the large steel doors that looked so familiar.
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life
One last thing I needed to do. I walked through the playground where so many things happened in those days. The social activities. The basketball. The fights. Yeah, there were bullies in those days too. I wonder what happened to them. They probably got themselves killed by now.
Oh yes, the girls! Can't forget the girls. I was shy in those days, but one trick I had was making eye contact. Once I got that, the conversation started.
The Return Path Back Home
Time to head back. Another mile and I'd be back to my car where I left it.
As I walked back, I took a different path. I remember that I used to do that when I went to school. I used to like having a change of scenery rather than taking the same path all the time. So I would walk along different blocks. It was still only a mile, but with different results. Hey, kind of like real life, don't you think?
I had a few stumbling blocks in my life, but I made them into stepping-stones.— Glenn Stok
© 2015 Glenn Stok