Walking to live…living to walk

I have settled into walking every other day.  I have found a nice route that is a little over a mile, and at first it was very challenging. The route starts out fairly easy, but when I round the corner on my walking route, and head toward home, it gets more and more difficult.  Again, I thought that perhaps I would need to call home and be picked up, but I kept going.  It got to the point that pain seemed like an invisible curtain that stretched across the road.  When I got to the curtain, I had to sweep it aside and bust through.  There were about 4-5 curtains on the way home, and I swept through each of them to finally make it up my driveway.  Have you swept through curtains like that?  After the first day, the curtains have not been there anymore.

This morning I discovered something.  My husband was away for work this weekend.  Our dogs woke me up at 5:30 am, to let them out into the backyard.  But once out, they left me alone and I actually slept until 1:15 pm.  I was flabbergasted!  But, what flabbergasted me even more was that I didn’t have my usual pain when I got up to walk.  Now, many people my age would say, “See?  We told you that you should retire.  No one with arthritis should be trying to go to work every morning.”  But, there are many older people who do not feel finished with their productive years.  After teaching high school/community college for over 30 years, and then spending 3 years teaching and counseling at the women’s prison, I have just started working with parolees and I am excited to be helping them to find community services to help them with their recovery and their transition into their new lives.  I walk into my office every morning, do my preparation for the day on the computer, and then I drive out to two different sites where I interview my clients.  When I get to each site, I need to roll my materials into the office, and then I sit for the rest of the day, while each successive client goes out to find the next client for my next meeting.  I would probably walk more if I stayed home.

I have no work to do at home.  All of it is done during the day on site.  I occasionally research resources that I can offer particular clients while I’m at home, but that’s because I want to be able to offer hope and encouragement to my clients the next day.  In the past I have often taught community college classes in the evenings, but I am trying to get an idea of how exhausted I get during the day.  I may try to teach at least 1 class in the Spring.  I miss teaching.  Right now my work consists of 1 on 1 counseling with each client.  Artie tries to keep me from doing what I love by making me so exhausted some days that I can’t even lift my foot to get into the car.  But if more sleep, daily walking, and self-care will help me to manage everything, I’d love to give myself the opportunity to teach one or two days per week.

So, here I am.  My husband is still gone and will not return until late Sunday night.  The dog duties and plant watering fall on me when he is gone.  That is a bit exhausting, but mostly I have been relaxing all weekend.  I am phone banking about the election this Sunday, but that is a labor of love, and we sit down while we do it.  Monday morning I will walk my mile+ route and the week will start all over again.  Artie has slowed me down, but he has not stopped me.






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