It was the end of January, winter weather was having it’s toll on me, it was gloomy, snowy & dark.It had never been a favorite season of mine & I remember thinking to myself , “Aren’t we supposed to be starting the year full of cheer & here we are stuck in a winter gloom!” Try as I might I couldn’t find the cheer in this season and then the Polar Vortex happened, all hell broke loose !
It was a casual phone call from a friend one evening and I was telling her how depressed & down I was feeling in this gloomy weather, while she cheerfully added from her end, how she had walked miles in an indoor soccer stadium near her home & was feeling refreshed. Same city, same weather !! I could hear the joy in her voice. She continued in the same cheerful tone, and gently suggested I find an indoor stadium or a mall to walk around until winter is done, knowing very well I enjoyed walking as much as she did. It was a light bulb moment for me! “Do you realize we have winter for nearly 4 – 6 months in a year, do you want gloominess to overtake you almost half of the year ?” she asked, that’s when it hit home. Yes, with all the Thanksgiving & Christmas celebrations in the air those two months seem to fly, in spite of the snow & cold weather, then comes the excitement of New Year & new beginnings, it lasts about a week into January & then things pretty much fall into routine, that’s when winter hits you hard. That’s when you start noticing the weather around you, the falling temperatures , the gloomy darkness, the bitter cold & then SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hits you hard.You don’t see the sun for days on end, your Vitamin D stores seem to decline and your moods with it!
My friend’s words kept haunting me, that night, I must find a place close by to walk , coz I so enjoy walking but where, when, how ? “Make yourself a priority and set a time in your calendar to do it !” , I told myself. Then another light bulb went off in my head, the MALL !!! Oh, why did I not think of it? Why did I not connect the two earlier, I could have gotten a lot more walking done this winter instead of sitting indoors in gloom . I am not much of a gym person, never have been, being restricted in a space amidst sweaty bodies, frantically exercising ( with due respect to all those fitness freaks) makes me feel claustrophobic. I’d rather exercise outdoors in open space with fresh air to breathe & not in a crowded place, where I feel the walls close in on me. So the mall sounded like a good option for this season, coz I did not have any indoor stadium close by ! I have often seen people walking in the mall, mostly elderly , retired people getting together for coffee & an early breakfast at times but had never connected the two, until my friend put that thought in my mind.
The Polar Vortex had hit pretty bad in our city, we were literally indoors for 48 hours straight. Talk about turning calamities to your advantage, it was all the motivation I needed to get out there & find my walking space, so the very next day, I drove to the mall in the early hours of the morning & was surprised to find a lot of walkers young & old doing the rounds. I was thrilled & kept asking myself what took me so long to figure out this one & connect the dots ? It was well lit, the floor was safe to walk in, no slipping or sliding like the snow filled sidewalks outdoors , friendly faces that greeted you on your walk & what’s more I get to see the latest fashion displays on the windows before even the stores opened. I loved it, it was easy to get addicted to this routine to stay fit & so far I have been killing it with nearly 3-5 miles each time I visit on the days that I am able to and somedays more.
She was right, I could walk in the mall all I want & it would be a perfect fit for my kind of personality who enjoyed window shopping & was a total people person.Both made me feel alive !
Did I say window shopping ? Even before the stores opened ?? This is exactly what I meant !
Gone is the gloom, gone is the winter blues, feeling more energized and alive this winter than ever before from winter’s past & all it took was one phone call from a friend who cared!
May I suggest, “Please check on your friends often, sometimes that is all therapy that one might ever need!” I am lucky to have a few of them in my life, who check on me even if I am a lil’ shy to be the first one to call.Thank God, for such blessings in our lives, they have the power to turn even the bitter winter of our lives around !!
One of my favorite stops is at the pet store in the mall, where I get to stop and pet the little pups on my walking routine.They certainly know how to amp up my happiness quotient. I would have missed out on my daily dose had I decided to sit indoors & sulk all winter!
Some days the coffee lines get longer with walkers who stop by to get a bite or two at the end of their walk.
Precious moments like this happen all around you, if you take the time to notice and walking gives you that advantage of watching people and reflecting on the beauty of it all. Holding hands and forehead kisses top the list on my list of romantic gestures, what does your list look like in this month of love ?
One could stop for coffee and make new friends, share interests, enjoy companionship, learn about people and culture, extend a hand in friendship to another human being, stop by the pet store, play with the puppies who know exactly how to steep your happiness cup, learn about what really matters in life and so many such Aha! moments on a walk. Try one today !
“Don’t walk behind me,I might not lead, Don’t walk in front of me, I might not follow, Walk beside me and you have a friend for life”