Author: Lyle Lasala
I used to just brush off the stories my dad would talk about when he was in school- how he “had to walk miles, mountains” just to get to school or work. I’ve always just rolled my eyes, shrugged it off, and nodded my head with a “okay dad, uh huh”. I guess the proof is there since my dad’s calves are slightly disproportional to the rest of his 5’8’’ figure. However, I’ve noticed and appreciate the clearness and mindfulness my dad has whenever he does go on a daily stroll around the local park. That sense of clarity is what I’ve come to admire from his generation, a generation that didn’t have a lot of alerting distractions, which is something I do somewhat agree on whenever he talks about how our current generation is so distracted.
With school, work, friends, internships, clubs, adventures, and everything else in our lives we walk all the time. Walking to get to our destination is second nature, we learn to stay balanced on our two feet and move from the early couple of years of infancy. With it being second nature, we don’t think about the motion plain by itself and add on to this ability whether by listening to music, conversing on the go, eating a quick snack, or worrying about an exam we clearly didn’t study enough for before heading to class. We never focus on just walking. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s kind of hard nowadays to just focus on one thing from point A to point B, or even have one focus at all since the hectic hustle and bustle of our busy lives makes us multitask. Even if we’re all cleared up, we have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and everything else on our phones to distract us. It has become innate to check on our devices every now and then while we venture out to reach a location.
Since I was little, I always loved just wandering and taking the long way. Whether it’s opting for the stairs, taking the road less traveled, or walking home from school, I just appreciate the journey of whatever I have done. Breathing, being mindful, and nothing else. I’ve come to appreciate this more than ever since beginning college. Walking aimlessly around campus, a local neighborhood, or taking the lightrail downtown. Walking makes me reflect on things that come up organically, things that aren’t force or pre-set. Big realizations have come up just strolling through the Burke Gilman Trail or Green lake. Letting yourself just be and taking 30 minutes out of your day, turning off the distractions, and venturing to anywhere is elementary.
Before the information era, this was life. Walking upright, glancing at people and respectfully smiling as they passed by, not crouching over and having our eyes glued down to our phones and just having things come as they are. I’ve had to relearn this since my reliability and loyalty to my iPhone has been at an all-time high. I can’t fully remember what I did 10 years ago without an electronic device by me. Did I just look off to the distance aimlessly? In reality this is pretty pitiful to me. With the health benefits of walking like getting a dosage of endorphins, reduced levels of stress, more oxygen being inhaled, along with psychological benefits, I do remember 10 years ago this was the time I was more creative, active, and optimistic. Again, even though walking is second nature and basically so small of a thought to think of while going through the motions of our lives, I definitely don’t want to take this ability for granted.