The Big Change: Walking Through the Breakup

Walking Through the Breakup. So, picture this: one hot night in 2020, smack in the middle of the first lockdown, my husband and I were sipping wine in our backyard shed. Out of the blue, after 17 years, we dropped the bombshell – we were calling it quits. “End of the line, huh?” I said, and he nodded. The unsaid was finally said.

The next morning hit differently. Sipping coffee together on a sunny bench felt weird, given our recent agreement. Plus, I was dealing with grief – first, my dad passed away, then our Jack Russell. Mid-40s, starting fresh, and COVID in the mix. Not the easiest combo.

Stepping It Up: 15,000 Steps a Day

To make sense of it all, I figured I needed to hit the pavement. The idea of doing 15,000 steps daily popped up – a doable goal for consistency and comfort, a daily ritual to frame the next chapter. I’m a travel writer, thrown in a walking challenge here and there, like the 78-mile Capital Ring walk or a weekend hike along the Kent coast. But a daily walk? Different story. “Everything is resolved by walking,” my dad used to say.

Rain or shine, I found solace in my two-hour hikes. London offered me Epping Forest, Olympic Park’s rivers and canals, and the wild marshes near Hackney. The drum of anxieties would quieten, and with each step, my mind settled. It became my therapy, alongside some good old journaling. The Pacer app? Well, that turned out to be low-key addictive.

Winter Walks and Mindful Musings

Winter crept in, bringing in muddy paths and low afternoon sun. My ex and I, now separated, still met to chat. Off-the-beaten-track routes became my thing, and there were rules: podcasts or music only on the “boring bits.” Being mindful, practicing meditation, or pondering my half-finished novel became my thing.

When hunger kicked in, and I craved a lie-down, I felt like my time was spent wisely. Sleep improved too.

Busy? Nah, Just Busy Walking

People often tell me they’re “too busy” for 15,000 steps a day, but as a freelancer, it’s my week’s framework. Easy to squeeze in – a stroll to my co-workspace, a walk to another neighborhood for a night out. Seasonal changes? You bet. Heatwaves mean early walks, and in winter, I wait for the day to warm up. I’ve even managed a couple of thousand steps when feeling poorly – ground floor perks for my neighbors.

Ready to dip my toes into dating apps, walking became my go-to for feeling attractive and building confidence.

Post-Divorce Reflections

Three years post-divorce, my ex and I are solid friends, both happily in new relationships. My boyfriend finds my daily step count amusing but not entirely convincing. Nowadays, I’m not as strict about it, but the monthly average stays on target. Most importantly, it’s a reminder of life’s twists, of never stopping evolution – and that moment in the garden shed that kickstarted a whole new chapter.