To the chick chain’s surprise, Joy just up and stopped walking with us, and we felt really bad about it. Was it something we said to make her not want to walk with us?
My chicas and I have been incredibly close for the past two walking seasons. We have walked steadily, increased our training distance and lessened our time, did this year’s Mackinac Island Eight mile race and overall felt pretty good about ourselves. This summer we worked hard in the grinding heat giving up weekend hours with our families to get ready for a race.
But for some reason right before and especially after the race, Joy stopped walking with us. She disappeared like the warm summer weather. She seemed to get frustrated when the weather got cooler and rainier. She wanted to watch TV, spend time at home and shop on the internet.
Joy didn’t seem to show up at our walks anymore or she was late and we missed her horribly. Was it something we did? Was it that she just didn’t want to walk with us anymore? We missed her so much and it wasn’t the same experience without her. We didn’t know why she wasn’t with us any longer and we all felt, well, a bit sad.
You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not talking about a person, but a feeling we all seemed to lose this fall. We lost our joy ~ our mojo. Joy accompanied us every time in the past, but now we seem to suffer from a common malady that drove joy away – a lack of motivation, dissatisfaction, uninterested, bored and feeling overwhelmed with other things that were clamoring for attention in our lives.
Suddenly walking became a chore and not the delight it was for two beautiful seasons. What happened to us? For me, I had a foot injury then foot surgery and another chica just felt the walking and increasing the distance as fast as we did become a chore and no fun. Plus it was a record breaking hot summer!
We didn't have a professional coach pumping us up, talking to us and coaching us about getting over the hump. There was no one to train us to get motivated and recharged. We were just tired out and It’s really just us motivating each other and when we all are in funk, what should we do? We were at a loss.
Many things in our lives are changing. Some of the spouses are retiring (we are in that age group, after all). Some of us really want to retire but a divorce put that on a back burner. Some of us are dating a wonderful man (that would be me) and rebuilding a new relationship and that takes time. Some of us have graduating children and others are running their own businesses. I had foot injuries that took me out of the walking rotation and while I hate to admit it, I was actually relieved for a while. (I’ll deny it if you ask me!)
Life changes impacted our joy of walking. It took me a few months to lose that relieved feeling and I finally realized I was really beginning to miss the feeling of being more in shape than I’d ever been, feeling stronger than I ever was, and more importantly I really missed my chicas. So much so, even though I couldn’t really walk, I met them out walking one Sunday just to have their camaraderie and connection. For me, that was the most important thing of all - the feeling I was connected to a delightful group of women where we all had a common bond of friendship.
As, Chris DeFouw, one of our most dedicated walkers wrote in an email to those who had missed a walk. “We had a lovely walk Sunday morning at Hawk Island. Saw deer, turkeys, ducks, and a great blue heron. We need to get back out on a nice day. We need to find our joy again, where the walk is looking around and sharing, not trying to accomplish a time or get ready to complete a distance. We need to take pride in our accomplishments, but also take time to enjoy our surroundings and each other.”
Chris put it so well! We had lost joy – our joy of exercise, of being connected, of just enjoying the gorgeousness of the outdoors in all it’s wondrous seasons.
So, how did we get our joy and mojo back? We did what every well rounded chica does. We went out for drinks and dinner, of course! (And I shopped afterward, just to be sure I got my joy back!)
And, because we’re women, we talked about what had been working, not working and acknowledged it was OK if some of our own goals weren’t the same as some of the others. We chose a different race for 2013 that fit the needs of everyone – it has a 5k, a 10k and 25k for all different fitness levels. We are chose a new location – beautiful Traverse City on the shores of Lake Michigan. We are scheduling a wine tour on Mission Point peninsula for after the race - a great motivation.
We left the restaurant smiling and it wasn’t just the alcohol. It was a old goal made new again. Recommitted, regenerated, reconnected – a new goal for the Chick Chain.
I recently came across a quote summing up the joy that comes from walking and being connected. I like the quote because I believe I think my best thoughts when walking. I hope one day you’ll join us and share the joy.
"Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow." - Henry David Thoreau
My “Why did Joy Stop Walking With Us” wishes for you
Know that even if you stop walking, running, swimming, or just plain moving, it only takes what a good friend told me “one step, just one step” to get moving again. No regrets, no looking back, no repercussions, no self-recriminations, just one step to move again. In fact, I went to meet the chicas one day and unfortunately I was the only one who could make it that day. I sat it my car, surfing FaceBook on my smart phone trying to come up with any excuse not to get out of the warm car into the cold weather. But, I took that one step out of the car and walked. I felt so great and joy filled afterward.
Just one step is all it takes. For exercising, for believing in yourself, for life changes, for reaching out for love, for giving love, for letting go of your fears, for reaching out for your goals, for daring to be who you should be, and for being filled with joy. Just one step is all it takes, the other steps will follow.
Realize it’s ok to wonder “what the heck?” Why am I doing this? Not just for walking, but all things in life. Sometimes things just don’t fit right and you can’t quite put your finger on it – like putting on a coat that’s a bit too small – something just isn’t right. Take time to pause, breathe, and relax. The answer will come to you, especially if you’re out walking and moving.
I wish for the joy of life to be with you at all times, whether you’re in a place in your life where everything is going wonderfully, or if you’re in a place of darkness, filled with questions, doubts, and wondering.
I hope joy finds you in all the bright and dark corners of your life!
Own it, love it and stand tall!
As always, with infinite love and gratitude,
PS…as always, my many, many thanks to Patty, Jane, Chris, Jane, Barb and Judy. Without whom I would be a boring, solitary, lonely chica waiting for those damned Manulo Blahnik shoes to go on clearance. And, yes I would buy those shoes for 340.00. Just sayin!
Also, much gratitude to the Sake Bomb women who taught me 1) don’t go out in the humidity if you have big hair 2)be careful with Big Mo or you may start a fire and pop a circuit breaker, and 3) spend as much time as you can with friends, for they are what makes life worth while.