Wednesday, 29 August 2012

My World is Getting Bigger

Photo by Ken Bosma, licensed CC-BY-SA
I've noticed over the past week that my world has been getting bigger as I have been getting smaller.

I don't know if anyone else who is or has been morbidly obese has felt this, but before I started working out my world was very small indeed.  I was reluctant to go out with people or to go places, because I could not walk more than half a block without pain, and I could never know if there was close transit or parking nearby.

I used to dread conversations that took a turn towards "let's just walk to ...".  It didn't matter where people wanted to walk, I would know that it was too far for me to handle.

Before undertaking any new task - whether it was shopping, or dinner with friends, or even going to work - my primary consideration was always "how will I get there?" or sometimes even "can I get there?".  I remember a couple of years ago that I did good work on a tedious project, and the supervising partner took the team out for lunch.  It was one of those "I booked reservations at [local restaurant]" situations, but since the restaurant was not directly across the street, it involved a walk.  At the time for me every step was painful, and my back seized up in knots before I had even walked half a block.  The next two blocks were agony, and by the time I arrived at the restaurant I was completely blown, puffing and wheezing.  That restaurant, as it happens, is on the way to my current apartment, and is a mere 5 minute walk from my office.  For me at the time, it might as well have been on the moon.

I took more $10 cab rides than I care to mention, simply because I couldn't walk the 5 blocks to court.  Or the 4 blocks to my apartment.  My life became limited by my walking radius, which was about as far as the front door of my office building.

And I stopped taking advantage of the city as a result.  Here I was, living downtown in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Canada, and I was a virtual housebound shut-in.  I was not agoraphobic, but it was such a trial to actually go anywhere that my life resembled that of an agoraphobe.

Recently, however, I've noticed something.  I am exploring my city on foot.  I am enjoying going for walks with the Nerd, and we are going walkabout every week.  We've gone to the theatre district, and the distillery district, and I have plans for other meanders around town.

We've been going for little trips to the Market, and where I would always let the Nerd go alone in the past, we have started going shopping together. I am no longer limited by what my body will do, because my body has been doing all sorts of good things since I started working out. 

Go to dinner with friends and have a 1.7 km walk back to their place in High Park?  Sure!  Make three trips to the Market in a weekend?  No problem!  Go for a 30 minute walk to enjoy exploring the neighborhood?  You betcha!. 

I feel like I am gradually coming back alive after having been hibernating for so long.  And it's a good feeling.

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