Where to start? Well how about on a supremely poetic note? One random day, while I was living in Massachusetts my friend Sue, her then boyfriend-now husband Robert and I ventured to Walden Pond in Concord, MA. Walden Pond isn’t just ANY pond, it’s THE Walden Pond. The one that poet Henry David Thoreau made famous with his book “Walden.” about his time living in a simple cabin near the pond.
It’s a truly lovely spot and Sue and I walked around it while Robert swam across it. But this isn’t the important part of the story. The important part of the story is what happened the next day. The next day, yours truly, who had been something of a sedentary soul went for another walk. This time around an outdoor track near my apartment.
And so it began. My first foray into some semblance of fitness. Soon I joined the Y.M.C.A. and started getting semi-serious about things.
Fast forward to 2000 in Portland, Maine. I started to run.
Then in 2001 I dropped a bunch of weight and started to run more and more.
By the fall of 2001 I was running my first of five half-marathons. I also started doing the famous Beach to Beacon 10K here in Maine and ran that about a half dozen times. It’s a brutal race with a bunch of hills and I get anxious even thinking about it.
Time marched on. As it does. I put weight back on. A lot even. I stopped exercising and slipped into a bit of an apathetic funk.
But in January of 2016 I rose from the ashes like a wanna-be phoenix and started eating a whole lot better. Six months later I had lost some eight. A lot even. But I still hadn’t gotten my exercise groove back.
Then one random day around the end of last August I decided to walk to work. It’s three miles each way and includes a scenic passage over Casco Bay Bridge.
And here’s the thing; I LOVE this walk. The views are gorgeous (I snapped the above pic with my phone), the coffee I stop for is always perfect and best of all, I listen to some great tunes along the way.
I’m still walking. Even when it’s minus six degrees out, I walk more often than not.
And now I’m running again at an indoor track not far from my house and I can’t wait to get outside.
The other day, I logged TEN miles. Ten freakin’ miles on that track. And just as important as my muscles and sheer determination was the music in my ears. Which brings me to the heart of the matter. Find your jams. Whatever they are. And listen to them. (Safely of course, please don’t get squashed by a truck a la The Smiths “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” because your music was blaring and you had zero awareness of your surroundings. You have to know what’s going on around you at all times. Traffic, other people, dogs, etc. Got it? ).
I have a playlist called “A Skip In My Step” and at the moment it’s 45 songs long. I let them play in random order so it’s a surprise every time.Each song means something to me. Some I love because they motivate the hell out of me. Some I love because they’re really fun. Some I love because they touch me in a way that makes me want to take better care of myself. Some make me run faster, some allow me to catch my breath (just a little), some make me smile, some make me think, some remind me of specific things or times in my life. But they all have one thing in common: they help me. Immensely.
Here are ten of these songs. I’m sharing them with the hopes of motivating you to adopt a few of them and make them your own or find songs that speak to you and GET MOVING. Some of these clips are the actual videos, but try not to focus so much on the visuals but rather try to feel these songs, maybe with your eyes closed the first time around. Ready. Set. GO!
Artist: Saint Motel
Why I dig it: Because the infectious groove lights a fire under my feet. Gotta get up, gotta get up. Move!
Song: “Strike It Up”
Artist: Black Box
Why I dig it: Because the dancing dream of the 90s is alive and well in this glorious song.
Song: “Wanna be Startin’ Something”
Artist: Michael Jackson
Why I dig it: Because it’s a masterpiece and I often tell myself that if I can make it to the end of the song’s six minutes and three seconds I’ll reward myself with a drink of water.
Song: “Run With Me”
Artist: Humming House
Why I dig it: It’s hopeful and catchy and this band put on such a great show a few months ago that included this song. Love it. Oh and there’s something kind of hypnotic about it, to me at least.
Song: “Natural Blues”
Why I dig it: Because it’s really just so cool. And great to run to.
Song: “I Love It”
Artist: Icona Pop
Why I dig it: This song is a party all by itself. Have at it.
Song: “Immigrant Song”
Artist: Karen O with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Why I dig it: Truth be told, I also run to Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” but when I hear this earth-shattering cover from the “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” soundtrack I channel my inner Lisbeth Salander and take no prisoners.
Song: “On My Way”
Why I dig it: Because I adore this band and this two and a half minutes brings me immense joy. It truly is the skip in my step.
Song: “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”
Artist: Kylie Monogue
Why I dig it: Because la la la. la la la la la. That’s why.
Song: “Smalltown Boy”
Artist: Bronski Beat
Why I dig it: It starts off slowly and the next thing you know, you’re zipping around like a house on fire. I love the energy and feel of this song. Plus…Jimmy Somerville’s angelic vocals.
Find your jams. Get moving. You’ve got this.
P.S. wanna hear my entire “A Skip in my Step” Spotify playlist?