When I Grow Up

The Benefits of Keeping ‘Em Guessing


Recently while out walking our dog, Maggie, I took the reverse path, in the direction opposite the one we usually walk. I did this because I saw a dog down the street that I knew would result in more barking and commotion that I wanted to deal with at that moment. As a result, despite the fact that we walked the same route, only in reverse, she didn’t know where we were going next.  This amused me and made me wonder if I should do this more often, not only in our walks, but in life. It might be good to shake things up a bit.

While we walked, I noticed that things looked different. I was seeing houses, yards and streets from the other side. It was a new perspective. I saw flowers and shrubs that I would have missed if I was coming from the other direction. What else in life have I missed seeing?

I try to notice things when we walk. I watch out for squirrels (and brace myself when I see one), cats and other dogs that I know will get Maggie’s attention. I also notice the birds, though she pays no attention to them. On occasion, I will stop and pull out my phone to snap a picture of a flower, rock or critter that chooses to not run when we approach. But this day, taking a “different” route, I saw things I hadn’t seen before, or at least not in the same way.

Walking is a good time for thinking.  I continued to ponder this” new direction” concept. I really like it. I believe it is good for all of us to sometimes do the unexpected. I became aware that we were exercising different muscles (on our walk, we were now walking up hills that usually we had walked down) as well as stimulating the brain. When you think about it, all objects in life are multifaceted and look different from another side or in another light. Seeing things differently can then lead to thinking about things differently, and ultimately to doing things differently.

Sometimes we need to travel a new direction. A new path can help get you out of a rut. Though routine is comforting, it can become stagnant. I found that our new path had benefits for the dog as well. She stopped more often, unsure of what the plan was, instead of rushing ahead, resulting in a more enjoyable walk for both of us. Even she seemed to be noticing our surroundings more.

While big changes can be frightening, taking smaller steps in a new direction can be liberating.  Doing something unexpected adds interest and helps to focus attention. I have long been a proponent of a change of scenery from time to time. I just haven’t realized that I really don’t have to go far to do so.