Tuesday 9 January 2018

#408 Another long walk

No part of me wanted to get up this morning. It was a Sunday. I had nothing pressing to be getting on with and besides, outside was colder than an Eskimo's ice tray.

I started chatting to Alex. Alex was a woman I must've met online sometime in the last year or so. We'd never met in person but messaged now and again. She'd beaten me when it came to getting up and had decided to go for a walk. Dammit. I knew when she said it that was exactly what I should be doing. I swore a couple of times and then forced myself to get out from under the covers.

It'd been a full week since I'd stopped taking my devices to bed. I was adhering to the list of the eleven tasks to do each evening that I'd made so there was no risk of feeling like there was anything left to do come nighttime. For each of the last four days in a row, I'd spent at least three hours outside walking to try and wear myself out but none of it was having any impact. I still wasn't getting to sleep before two in the morning.

Pissed off and now more exhausted than ever, I made myself shower and get dressed before heading out into the cold. My phone showed a solid five degrees. Fridge temperature. My eyes streamed in the wind as I walked over to the Coop to get a sandwich and a bottle of water. I was going for a walk.

Crystal Palace Park really is a beautiful place. From the lakeside staging platform to the dinosaurs at the bottom and the ruins at the top. It'd been at least a year since I'd toured it. Probably more. I'd made my way there via Sydenham Woods along the Green Chain Walk. Part of network of semi-scenic routes that weaved for miles around the city. I'd followed it before but never as far as I would today.

After the park, I followed the signs into Penge and out the other side again. By that point I was flagging. I'd walk twenty metres or so and just stop, longing to turn around and go home. Then another twenty metres or so. Then stop. It was psychological, it had to be. I could carry on if I wanted to. I made one last burst for it and strode onward for another fifteen minutes.

Sometimes I have to push myself until I get this kind of feeling like I just know I've taken something as far as I need to. I don't know why. I say sometimes because I'm not trying to make up some stupid rule or some point about how much effort I made because I have no idea what any of that kind of stuff means and never have had any idea about it. I'm simply trying to explain that I exerted myself.

There eventually came a point where I'd walked so far that I found a huge sign with many exotic and faraway Green Chain Walk destinations marked upon it. I'd pushed past my first and second notable inclinations to stop. The sun hung low in the sky and one of my hands was freezing from carrying the water bottle I'd brought from Coop over an hour and a half ago. I knew it was time to head back.

Relieved at having finally experienced the feeling that I could now ease up on myself a bit, I drank the last of the water, turned around and began the five mile walk home.

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