It was our anniversary and we barely saw each other. This was a big one too. The kind you do something special for, but we did nothing. Not even dinner out. The reason why ties into this 20k One Year Step Challenge. Our anniversary happened during Week 30 of getting 20,000 steps every day for a year with no breaks.
When we got married we didn’t have a lot of money for the honeymoon. We could afford one week split between Cape May, an ocean resort in New Jersey, and Williamsburg, a restored colonial city, in Virginia.
Even though the honeymoon was done on the cheap, those two places have come to represent what Ava and I love to do together. Every summer we spend at least two weeks at the beach and for decades we spend at least one long weekend (without children) in Williamsburg.
Even though we spend far more time at the beach, it’s Colonial Williamsburg that I really think of as OUR place.
The historic area of Williamsburg is a collection of buildings from the 18th century and represent the early days of the United States. Some of the buildings are original, but many are recreated. Together they look like a colonial town. There are actors in period costumes talking to tourists and horse drawn carriages moving about the streets.
It doesn’t cost anything to walk around the restored area, but you do need an admission pass to go in the buildings. These include colonial houses as well as shops where you can watch skilled cabinetmakers, silversmiths, wigmakers, blacksmiths and so much more.
There are also a bunch of restaurants, taverns, and stores along the perimeter of the restored district. And, right across the street is the College of William and Mary.
Ava and I are no longer tourists when we visit Williamsburg. It now feels like home. We have been inside all the buildings and have seen the skilled craftspeople do their thing. Through the years, our favorite activity when we are in Williamsburg has never changed. We did it before we had kids. We did it during the hectic years of parenting young children. We did it when life felt overwhelming. We did it as our children became adults and began to move out. We still do it today.
We walk and talk about life, our family, and each other. We talk about our challenges and our dreams. We walk for miles savoring every moment. We’ve walked as the early spring leaves were barely visible, and in the fall amidst the beautiful autumn colors.
We’ve also enjoyed Williamsburg in the summer, but never in the winter. Nope. Not gonna do it.
We’ve celebrated more than a few wedding anniversaries in Williamsburg. But, not this one. We didn’t do anything this year because of something more pressing that needed attention.
Ava and her sister were moving their mom into Assisted Living.
It’s been a challenging process and it culminated on our anniversary weekend. This is a hard transition because it represents loss…which is really what aging is all about. A long string of losses…one after another chipping away at the things we love to do…
…like walking around Williamsburg for miles at a time.
Have you ever wondered why exercise is such a struggle? I know there’s the obvious answer…it’s hard and who likes doing hard things when you don’t have to. But, I think there’s another, not so obvious, answer too.
Exercise is often disconnected from real life activities. Seriously, what do pushups, squats, and burpees have to do with your daily reality? Are you really motivated to do pull-ups, lunges, and planks so you can do pull-ups, lunges, and planks when you’re older?
But, walking for fitness is different. It’s connected. I walk for fitness today so decades from now I can still enjoy walking with Ava for miles on end in Williamsburg. I walk for fitness today so I can do my own shopping for a long, long time. I walk for fitness today, so I can walk from my car to my cheap seat in the upper deck to see the Orioles play in the World Series (hopefully sooner than decades from now).
That’s why I’m doing this 20k One Year Step Challenge. That’s why the finish line really isn’t on August 31. And, that’s why I was OK not celebrating our anniversary last weekend. Ava had more important things to take care of and I was reminded again why walking for fitness is so important.
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