I often explore interesting activities like this one that provoke one's curiosity. So I'll share my experience for you to enjoy.
I'm going to give you an idea of how you can get in touch with your childhood memories while at the same time getting some walking exercise. But most of all, get ready to realize your own fate and how you made your life turn out as it had by persevering through it all.
If you have the opportunity to go back where you grew up, take a walk through your old neighborhood. If you had walked to school, follow that same path now as an adult.
That experience might awaken lost childhood feelings and hidden thoughts that linger in your subconscious. It may even enlighten you to a better understanding of your life.
I'll share my experience and thoughts with you that came to my mind when I did that over 50 years later in the neighborhood where I grew up. A lot of enlightened consciousness emerged.
Taking a Walk Back in Time
I'm an avid hiker, and I walk 3 to 6 miles a day. I remember when I used to walk to school.
Sometimes I took the bus, and at times I used my bicycle. However, I often just liked to walk to school in the morning and back home afterward. My High School was only a mile from my home, and it took me 20 minutes to walk.
One day I decided to experience it again. So I drove to my old neighborhood and parked my car by the house where I grew up. When I got out of my car, I looked at that familiar house—remembering fond experiences as a child. Whoever lived there now continued to take great care of the property.
After taking some pictures, I started on my journey along the sidewalk—following the same path I took 50 years earlier.
Walking Down Memory Lane
As I walked along the sidewalk, the sights and sounds were very familiar, as if nothing had changed. The homes were the same, with manicured shrubs and lawns. The streets were lined with parked cars, just as I had remembered.
There was the sound of a bus going by at times on the main road. It all was very refreshing to relive, even hearing the birds tweeting in the trees.
Familiar sights and sounds bring old memories back into focus. I felt like I was that same teenager all over again, and the years just floated away.
How the Choices We Make Affect Our Lives
I lived in a well-to-do neighborhood but didn't have any idea of what that meant when I was a child. It became clear to me, as I walked along, that I'm grateful for the choices my parents had made.
Every single decision one makes in life has a tremendous effect on one's future, and even more so in the future of their children's lives. We tend to take that for granted.
Most of us never even consider how we got to where we are now. We never know the reason for our existence or the part we play in the lives of others and the world in which we live.
A lot of these thoughts came to my mind as I took that walk. Life doesn't just happen to us.
I became aware of the fact that we design our own lives.
We make it what it is with the choices we make, with the friends we keep, with the places we move to and live in, with the interests we develop, and with the person we choose to be with as a lifelong partner through it all.
Trees Show Us the Power of Perseverance
As I continued walking along, I noticed that the trees were much bigger than I remember.
Trees show us the power of perseverance. They grow quite a bit in 50 years, and they can survive through harsh winters and intense storms.
As I continued that walk among the trees, I began to get in touch with my own endurance and determination to survive.
I took for granted the trials and tribulations I've dealt with in life. Now I suddenly realized the power that I had in me. It all became clear just by noticing those trees.
I continued walking block after block, thinking about the years that had gone by, what I accomplished, and where I failed.
A mile is only about 20 city blocks. It takes about 20 minutes to walk a mile at an average human pace of 110 steps per minute.
It dawned on me that the same applies to everything we do—or attempt to do. We take baby steps with everything we wish to accomplish. The steps add up minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, and year-by-year. We can achieve our goal. No matter what it is, we can get things done.
Where Are All My Friends?
As I reached the halfway point, I noticed I was passing the home of a childhood girlfriend. I wondered if she were still there. I thought about what she might look like now. Would I recognize her? Would she remember me?
How silly, I thought, to be thinking of such things. After all, 50 years had passed. Most certainly, she would be long gone from that neighborhood, living somewhere else in a new life, with new friends, possibly with a family of her own.
With that in mind, I thought about other friends who once lived along the path I was walking. I was wondering:
- Where were they now?
- How had their lives changed since those high school days?
- What experiences did they have?
- What choices did they make?
- What struggles have they had?
- Did they even survive?
Reaching My Destination Gave Me a Different Perspective
I'm now only a few blocks away from my old high school. My thoughts turned inward as I started thinking of my own life and judging my own decisions.
I suddenly realized the wisdom of my thoughts. I'm looking at my past life, analyzing my prior decisions with the clarity of my present state of mind.
All through my life, I've been using my present state of mind to analyze my plans based on the options I had along the way.
I began to realize that I should have done the thought process the other way around. I should have changed my thinking to have a different perspective, to consider the future based on what I wanted to make it, without limiting myself to present options. It took me 65 years to figure that out! If you can change your thoughts, you can change your life!
Here I am. I made it to my old school. It looks the same.
I remember those tall windows. We had long rods, with hooks at the top, to open the upper windows.
I walked around the entire school and envisioned myself entering and leaving through the large steel doors. It all looked so familiar.
Conscious Thoughts to Conclude the Day
There was one last thing I needed to do. I had memories, good and bad, of the playground where I hung out in my teen years. I walked a few extra blocks to the neighborhood park where so many things happened in those days. The social activities. The basketball. The fights!
Yeah, there were bullies in those days too. I wonder what happened to them. They probably got themselves killed by now.
Oh, yes, the girls! I can't forget the girls. I was shy in those days, but one trick I had was making eye contact. Once I got that, the conversation started.
Well, it's time to head back to my car. While heading back, I took a different path. I remember that I used to do that in those days when I went to school. I used to like having a change of scenery rather than taking the same path all the time. So I would walk along different blocks.
It was still only a mile, but with different results. Hey, kind of like real life. We can't expect different results if we keep doing the same thing! Where have I heard that before?
I know I used to repeat things several times when I stumbled through life, hoping to find that I was right. It took years to learn how to make those stumbling blocks into stepping-stones by finding real solutions to problems.
© 2015 Glenn Stok