Due to a recent turn of events, I have started walking to and from school, rather than driving. When first faced with this challenge, I was, I’ll admit, less than jubilant about it. If there was a perfectly good vehicle to use… why couldn’t I use it? I had to wake up earlier, I often had to trudge through ridiculous amounts of snow due to this stupidly extended winter, and the wind usually made my hair all knotty. In conclusion, I was not thrilled. I tried to the best of my abilities to keep any and all complaints to myself or at least very minimal if I was sharing them. However, my memories from the junior high school days of walking were far from bright and definitely not something I was looking forward to repeating.

Nonetheless, at 8:15, the following morning, I started walking (most likely through an all-encompassing snow blizzard). I made the trip to school and, after my last class, back up the massive hill to my house. This continued for a few days and although I’m not exactly sure when, my attitude changed. I consistently dressed for the weather, so as not to allow myself to freeze, I would listen to the tweeting birds, or the crunching snow, or my favorite music, and life was generally good. These 10-15 minute walks twice a day opened up great opportunity for self reflection and a personal consideration of the events of the day. Planning for school projects, future educational pursuits, and even just the rest of the evenings events were often contemplated step by step, as I walked, step by step. I felt independent and accomplished as I crossed the threshold of my destination, despite the unimportance and irrelevance of my small exploit. I also watched my body began to both look and feel a lot healthier than it had mere weeks before. The fresh air, the blue sky, the sunshine, and (most importantly) the big hill, were to thank for the refreshing rejuvenation that I was experiencing. Now, I thoroughly look forward to my morning and afternoon walks each day and have even added evening walks with my parents, for enjoyment and family time, to my schedule.

I believe that an important life lesson can be learned from this, my attitude’s evolution: making presumptuous judgements pertaining to challenges, situations, people, etc., before you have experienced/got to know them can be detrimental to your happiness. Had I went into this new change in my life with a positive mindset, choosing to allow the walking itself create its own reputation, rather than remembering back to my younger self’s judgement, happiness could have been immediate. There would have been no need to change my mindset to a positive one, it would have been there already. Clearly, there is no way to determine whether or not one will enjoy something, until one tries it. I never would have expected myself to love walking to and from school as much as I truly do now.

Although walking to school is quite a small, unimportant change in my life, I am very grateful for the lesson which it has taught me. Whilst considering a new summer job in a new place, moving faraway from my family, and starting university with all new people in an all new place, I have been able to apply this lesson to my thoughts and feelings. Going into each of these new experiences, hoping for the absolute best and keeping a positive outlook about them will, undoubtedly, increase the chances of enjoyment of each. Making mental lists of happy, exciting things that each new place/experience will offer me has truly been getting me through each day.

This picture was on a blue bird day, shortly after a big storm. The birds were singing from the treetops and the hope of spring was fresh in the somewhat crisp air. Although this moment was definitely something that I had to enjoy while it lasted (it snowed a lot the next day), I still often think of it while walking through the white flurries.

I hope that everyone can experience the impact which their thoughts and mindsets can have on situations, and chose to utilize these tools to create a happier outlook on life in general.