How to Walk… and Live

 

Sometimes after dropping my kids off at school I feel a sort of existential crisis – alone again for another morning! What am I going to do!

Work, or course, is what I need and usually want to do, but I still often feel a big void just after leaving the hubbub of the school gates – part of the working-from-home life.

Walking fixes it. Before going home I set off a at a strong pace around one of Madrid’s wilder parks, at roughly the same speed as my mind is moving – fast.

Today I found places to stop, and just look. Look at the trees, and the sky, and the now-dry grasses, and just take in every detail of the scene in front of me. For a minute of two. Feeling the sun, inhaling the pine on the breeze. Not caring what the occasional mountain-biker that passes might think.

And when I set off walking again, my pace has changed completely. The act of stopping and looking has completely changed me. I’m calm, happy. No existential morning crisis. Off I go again, and sooner or later my mind and my pace is up to full speed again, so I stop once more, look around, and come back to calm.

Walking fast is wonderful, walking slowly is wonderful, but stopping every now and again to take in the world seems to be essential if I want to get home better than I left.

This is the way to walk, and of course it’s the way to live. If we don’t stop, often, and just be, just look around, how can we remain calm in the speedy world in which most of us exist?

It’s a beautiful morning in Madrid. I hope it’s beautiful wherever you’re reading this.