Friday, June 03, 2016

The Joy of Walking

Until 2013, I had no idea how magical walking can be. It all started when my company went through large-scale layoff and I was back in the market searching for work. Knowing that a lot of us were in the same boat, searching for work helped tremendously in coping with the job search blues. As they say, misery does love company. But I have realized that no matter how big or small a struggle is, at the end of the day, we as a person have to deal it and face it all by ourselves. Loved ones and well-wishers try to help, but at the front-end, it's all us, only us. And it was the same here. There was a lot of help from all fronts, but I was the connecting point of every single interaction that was required. Job search can be exhausting in more ways than one can ever imagine. All of a sudden you become the busiest jobless person. Unfruitful job search attempts, rejections after tedious long interviews, inquiries and status reports from not-so-well-wishers often were of no help. The mood changes like a sine-curve every single minute of the day.

One chilly afternoon that winter, I realized I needed to get away from it all, just for a few minutes. I bundled up with layers and multiple pairs of gloves and winter hats and got out for a stroll. I walked around for over two miles and came back feeling a whole lot better than when I left. I kind of liked that walk a lot as to how it made me feel afterwards. I went back for a walk the next available free day when I had an afternoon off. I came back more cheerful than I had been that entire week. Couple of more afternoon walks and I started to notice a pattern. Every time I returned from a walk, I was feeling better than when I started the walk. The cheerful mood only lasted so long, but it felt great. However temporary that positive mood lasted, I wanted to feel that more often, on more days. I made it a point to find some time on daily basis from the job search tasks and networking events to go for afternoon walks at least 4-5 times a week. And for whatever reason (which I found out later on), afternoons were more exciting times for walks than mornings or late nights. I didn't enjoy the morning / late night walks as much. I realized that only after a few weeks when I started to notice a pattern. I kept on looking forward to the afternoon walks just for the sunset colors I got to see. And if it were cloudy, the sunsets were even more gorgeous! I felt like a kid with icing filled cake in front. To keep myself motivated, I started documenting the walks by taking random photos of daily sunset colors. My walking route wasn't that picturesque or anything with so many electrical towers on the way, but then I improvised. I started to shoot silhouettes of those towers at sunset and every day that's' what got me excited to go for a walk again. I can’t remember exactly when but just during that winter, I fell in love with walking and sunset colors. Things have changed a lot in last three years but the love for walks and sunset colors still remains. I haven't gotten so bored of either one of those yet. These days, I don’t get to go for daily walks or as often as I’d like but it’s the best outdoor activity I have found in recent times and I absolutely look forward to my late afternoon/evening walks even today.

Thinking back to 2013 experiences, I think anything that happens is for the best and sometimes seemingly difficult experiences are in fact blessings in disguise. I feel thankful for those experiences.

Some photos from my afternoon walks from Winter of 2013-2014:

More photos from recent lunchtime and afternoon / evening walks at