accessibility · fitness · traveling · walking

Sam’s very sad thing

I’m in New York as I start this blog post. I love this city. I even almost lived here and I often wonder what that life would have been like.

How did I almost live here? I had an on campus interview at Barnard College in 1993. That was actually my first visit to New York though the geography was super familiar to me from from television and movies. So “almost” is a bit of a stretch but it’s always felt like it might have been my home. In my “inner life” it’s been an alternate home. Montreal too, but that’s another story.

Over the years I’ve visited often, running in Central Park when I was a runner, but mostly lots and lots of walking. One of the things I love about the city is walking. It’s a walking person’s city. And I’ve often thought that when visiting I don’t need to make a special effort to get exercise because I love being outside and I love walking. That’s one of the ways I’ve identified with New York.

This visit was different. I arrived here this time with sore knees–plural! both of them! And it could tell it was going to be a tough time. Even with my knee brace on I was struggling. I was so slow and this isn’t a good place for slow walkers. Sarah carried bags lots of the time which also hurt my self image because I think of myself as the strong person who lifts and carries things for others. But not while walking. Not this trip. Thanks Sarah!

We defaulted to the subway for quite a bit of our about town travel but unlike Barcelona there weren’t always escalators and elevators available and often they were out of service. Here is my Highline selfie. It was tough going up and even tougher going down as the elevator was broken, awaiting repair.

Image description: Sam’s Highline selfie. Sam is a white woman in her fifties with wild blonde, brown, and silver hair. She’s wearing a black linen jacket and large black glasses.

You get the idea. Painful knees and I city I love to walk around. No amount of ibuprofen helped and I kept coming close to tears. It made me remember the knee surgeon’s advice when I mentioned loving walking. He said something about loving it in smaller doses and finding other things to enjoy. When it come to steps, for me, more isn’t always better.  When I see friends post about walking a zillion steps, I confess I’m jealous and that’s not an emotion I like in myself.

Next time I’m either renting a city bike or bringing my own Brompton. Well, in fact next time I’m here it’ll be for the 5 boro bike tour and I’ll definitely be riding, not walking.

I’m also feeling better about knee surgery! So there’s that.

I still had a great visit and this trip reminded that I don’t just love New York because of walking. While here we saw a great play, Hurricane Diane , reviewed here. We went to the opera! Tosca! And I stopped by the SVA Flatiron Gallery.

Here’s to a well-rounded life with lots of opera, and theatre, and art, and books.  And great food. And a little less walking. While that’s sad, it’s not sad overall. Really it’s hard to complain about a life that contains weekend visits to New York for fun and beautiful music.

Image result for met opera house

13 thoughts on “Sam’s very sad thing

  1. I loved Hurricane Diane. And–Citibike! It’s been a life changing NYC resource for me and I highly recommend using it when next you are here.

  2. I’m in a very similar situation Sam. I gave up playing soccer a few years ago, due to knee and ankle injuries. I increased my hiking, weights and kayaking. Then decided to go back to soccer last summer. After a month and a half both knees were screaming at me. I stopped soccer for good.

    Then I went on vacation to Croatia last September. I loved it and did lots of very strenuous hiking. Up and down mountains and hills each day, because more is better, right? Towards the end I had times I could scarcely walk on level ground. I’m not yet at the point of knee replacement, but it’s not far off.

    It is such a difficult place to be, mentally, as even an activity I barely considered to be exercise (walking) is difficult some days. I want to find an activity that is as intense as soccer or strenuous hiking. It may well be biking, which I’ve only done very casually.

    I look forward to your updates. Cindy

  3. So sorry about this because I know how much you loved running and had to give that up, and now having to cut down on walking, which you love so much too. We have walked many a kilometer together in all sorts of wonderful places (not NYC though!). What is the prognosis for getting back on track with walking after surgery? Hugs.

  4. Love NYC! My daughter move there three years ago. The walking, geez, it was the concrete that got to my feet. Despite great sneakers, after 4 – 5 hours my heel spurs and bunions were like ” give us a rest lady”.
    Since I have an On your feet all day job, I cut my self some slack, Metro card use for treks more than 15 blocks or walk in the am and Uber at the end of the day.

    And your post has me curious about NYC Opera – one thing I’ve never experienced in over twenty trips there! It’s on the list now.

  5. This is a very sad thing. A teary sad thing. I know this from my own current experience with a bum foot. I am a hiker who cannot hike, cannot even walk 1/2 a mile down a street without significant and ongoing pain. (The doc has said its genetically acquired arthritis exacerbated by trauma, so it is potentially never going away. I am still in denial and plan on getting additional opinions.) This is why I am grateful for you sharing your challenges over recent years with not being able to fully realize your athletic self in the ways you desire. It’s a help as I struggle likewise. Travel can both be a distraction to this challenge and heighten awareness. I have an upcoming trip to London, a place I’ve never been to. I am both wicked excited (The Tate at long last!) and anxious because my favorite way to experience a new place is by walking everywhere I can. And I won’t be able to do that. I wonder exactly how much walking I’ll be able to do at all. Can I even get through the Tate? In comparison, the doldrums of an inactive weekend at home anchored on the couch is not the way to manage either. Neither the privilege of travel or the couch at home are a tenable way to manage the changes to our bodies. Top of the agenda needs to be discovering new ways to be – to find meaning and to achieve work/life balance. Cheers to all of us who are in this struggle!

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