January 4th, 2013

planet

about community, being outside, and walking with @mmflint

Recently one of the little free library facebook statuses gave props to Michael Moore for adding "build a LFL" to his 2013 resolutions, yay! Which lead me to the rest of Moore's facebook page, where he's been talking a lot about walking. Just walking... outside, to get some fresh air or just because, for 30 minutes a day, every day for the past 10 months or so. It all started with a conversation about how more people are on anti-depressants than go to the movies, which blended into the idea that whether or not you're at the movies we all just need to get OUT more (of course, as a filmmaker, he first recommended movies...) and maybe what people really need is a brisk walk. So he started taking some brisk walks, just for the hell of it.

And it wasn't about exercise or losing weight, which has totally confused a great many people, everyone is asking him how much weight he's lost but walking could also be about being outside in your neighborhood and connecting and doing something that's just GOOD, not staring in the mirror wondering if you need to lose weight. There are more effective ways to lose weight if that's all you care about, you could hit the treadmill and monitor your heart rate and go on silly diets all the time. But the point is, we need to get off all that, and I couldn't agree more... I HATE treadmills. As a person who loves being outside and walking or running or whatever, a treadmill just feels to me like injecting myself with exercise. It's like taking an iron pill when you could eat a gorgeous piece of steak or fresh broccoli from the garden or whatever... it's missing out on the way nature wanted you to get what you need.

I've felt bad lately about my outside activity because of all my health issues, I lost the running endurance I'd built up, I felt let down about it, but I'm realizing I should be rethinking it just like I've rethought so many other things. Don't feel bad about what I've lost, just be.

I started this post talking about little free libraries... that one we built for our block was one of the happiest things we did all year, and not just because I ended up with lots of good reads from it! It was just fun to go to some random coworkers houses that I'd never been to before, because they had tools I could borrow or scrap wood we could have, then it was fun to talk about with our neighbors, and we had that party with the cupcakes and watermelon and everything (well, of course and beer). Then we met the other people in the city who'd built them and they all had the same happiness about it, loved watching people drive by, slow down, back up, step out and grab a book, then look around and realize hey, we have a cool neighborhood! This is cool!

I find myself thinking all the time about how we can connect with our world now... I wrote about it after we all dropped everything to stare alone at the news of another mass shooting, when isolation is one of the things that causes violent attacks, I just found it so ironic. I read how Robert Lupton thinks isolation is the problem with charities and Judith Warner thinks "winner takes all" is the problem with motherhood (and then, our kids). I've even talked about how kids should trick-or-treat in their own neighborhoods on halloween - it seems so simple, let's not let it go out of fashion!

Incidentally... this year, we had LOTS more trick-or-treaters at our house :)

So I have another reason to walk now, besides my health, besides the fact that my dog still loses her puppy mind at the thought that ZOMG WE GET TO GO AGAIN?! Walking is just a nice way to see your neighborhood that you are meant to be a part of. If you want to be all C. S. Lewis-y about it, the good feelings we get from being a part of our world are signs that it's what we're SUPPOSED to do. Hints from our programmer. Or if you don't want to go that deep into it, then don't... just go outside for the hell of it and see what happens. Maybe wait until it's above freezing, okay sure. But go, and see if there's anything to learn.