One of my 2019 goals was to walk the length of Broadway in Manhattan and I had a massive AHA! on my way to completing this:
- There’s no one right way to achieve a goal: The way that works best for me/you IS the “right” way.
- Achieving goals should be fun, bring joy. If it’s a burden, why bother?
It’s simple and really all you need to know – yet it’s easy to lose sight of this. I observed a version of this hanging out in the Facebook group for a journaling system. Several members shared their guilt feelings for not doing specific exercises in a specific way and I thought, maybe this doesn’t work for you? Is there another way, an easier, better way for you, that will get you to the same place?
Here’s your 2020 Permission Slip to do it your way and have fun doing it.
If you want to know about my adventure and how I landed on this, read on:
I love to walk. Walking is good for the body and the brain (check out neuroscientist Shane O’Mara’s In Praise of Walking) Urban rambles are especially fun for me so walking Broadway was a natural and something I’ve wanted to do for years:
- it’s 13.5 miles (21km+) from 225th Street in the Bronx to the tip of Manhattan at South Ferry
- it’s the original Wecquaesgeek trail, later adopted by the Dutch as the main road through New Amsterdam
- it takes me through neighborhoods I have never or rarely seen
- you see and experience so much more on foot than you do from a bus or taxi
But as so often happens, life and work got in the way along with the weather. It was too cold in the winter, too rainy in the spring and too hot and humid in the summer for a 4-6 hour walk + close to 90 minutes on the subway to get from my home in Brooklyn to 225th Street in the Bronx.
Autumn arrived and I had some serious internal conversations: I’m not going to get this done? Really? Come on. Wait a minute.
I turned to my favorite free resource, Deep Breaths, and gave myself space to really think about this and ask the important question: What’s getting in my way? What needs to happen for this to work?
Mindset – I knew I had the desire.
Materials – I have the right shoes and gear for long walks
Budget – this doesn’t cost more than $2.75 for the subway but ahhh, this costs time and that is what I have in short supply.
This is when I gave myself permission to choose the obvious solution: Break the walk into manageable chunks.
I spent nine months stuck in The Shoulds as if there is rule book for walking Broadway, as if there would be someone at the finish line at South Ferry with a clip board and a bull horn deciding if I had successfully completed the task.
I chuckle about this now, how easy it is to lose sight from our goals and purpose.
On a spectacular October Saturday I set out from 125th Street to Houston, turning this 6-mile walk into a 10-mile trek because as I walked through the beautiful Columbia University campus around 116th Street I remembered the Cathedral of St John the Divine was nearby but not on Broadway.
Thought Bubble: I’ve always wanted to visit the Cathedral, at the rate I’m going when am I going to get back up here? But..it’s not on Broadway. Barb! Who cares! It’s your walk!!!
So I cut through the campus, scampered over to 112th Street and Amsterdam, listened to the choir practice, said a prayer and lit a candle for a dear friend who had recently passed and immediately felt a sense of well-being and contentment from empowering myself to get it done my way.
Joy continued sparking down the Upper West Side, taking in the architecture and the block-long line of people waiting for Absolute Bagels.
At Columbus Circle I made the executive decision to wander in to see the World of Anna Sui and Vera Paints a Scarf at the Museum of Art and Design and to join the fun at the grand opening of Nordstrom at 57th and Broadway.
Somewhere around Flatiron where Broadway intersects with Fifth Avenue, I started to feel it in my knees. It was 5 miles according to the map but 7 miles with my detours according to my fitness counter. I had a sidebar conversation with my knees, embraced there is no right or wrong and decided I could forge on another 20-ish blocks to the R train at Prince Street – the closest subway to my home.
Houston to South Ferry was an easy stroll on a windy late autumn day to meet a client in the Financial District and the final one hundred blocks – 225th Street to 125th Street – was a crisp, clear day after New Year’s that included lunch at my new favorite Latin Chinese restaurant La Dinastia (an NYC culinary tradition) at 171st Street in Washington Heights and a stop to buy a gold Ganesh statue at a Botanica in Hamilton Heights.