We usually walk around the streets of the neighborhood he lives in, but today we
threw routine to the wind and walked in the beautiful park just down the street
from his house.
There’s something about a “routine” that is both comforting and irritating at the same time. It’s comfortable sometimes knowing what to expect, but it can also be boring as hell.
A 91-year-old friend of mine was commenting matter-of-factly the other day about how “small” her world has become as she has aged. She is no longer able to drive and must rely on family and friends to help her get things done that she used to do on her own. One by one she has had to give up favorite pastimes such as golf and volunteering because she is not physically able to do them.
She is still very independent however and lives on her own. She has a comfortable routine that she enjoys and a family of children and grandchildren that loves her. She actually often goes on fun outings a heckuva lot more often than I do!
When we visit and talk about the adventures that we each have had in
our lives, I am often amazed to realize that there are a lot of interesting
and/or fun things I used to do that I don’t do or experience anymore. In some
ways, my life is going through a “small” stage. And I’m not sure that I’m
I don’t know if living simply is good or bad sometimes. I like nesting with my cats and walking with my canine friends and writing. But there are times when I just want to break out of the “smallness” and do something “big.”
“Big” is relative of course. When I was younger, I thought nothing of picking up and moving a gazillion times. I’m not looking to do that kind of “big” thing again. There will no doubt be more moves ahead of me but not like the gazillion ones that were often impulsive and not well thought out.
And so, since even small things can be life-changing, taking Harry in a different direction today was a “big” thing.
I hadn’t been to the park in ages and it is one of the handful of places that I truly love here. I got to see all the magnificent trees, the duck pond, the Canadian geese, the
squirrels, the Rose Garden, all the other dogs and their people out for a stroll.
And Harry…well, in his own slow quiet way, he had a blast. Our walk took twice as long as usual because there were so many new and interesting things to stop for and smell. His big black nose was in high gear.
And it worked out fine. He got to stop and smell the trees and leaves and bushes as many times as he wanted to, and I got to stop and snap a few photos as well.
It was a small change in the routine, but it was a big change too. It will always be true that a journey of 10,000 big steps begins with a single small new one.
©April 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver