I awoke this morning around 4:30a. Yes, it is still dark, at least in Southern California. In my ‘old’ life, BTA (before the attack), I would have gotten up, put on my workout clothes, left my house by 4:50 or so and gone out to do my daily walk. I would have done between 6 and 8 miles and would have been home, at the latest, by 6:30 or 6:45, if I had chosen to walk 8 miles. These days I am unable to do that. I have had to relearn how to operate in the morning. I am a natural early bird and I have had some difficulty adjusting to not being able to go out in the dark. Realistically, I know it’s not the dark that attacked me; I know that the odds of another attack are ridiculously low; I think I would probably be perfectly safe; BUT I cannot do it. Unless I am with someone else. I do have one friend that gets up as early as I do and we try to walk once a week at 4:30. The difference now is he has to come to my front door because I can’t walk the 4 blocks alone in the dark to meet at the corner we used to meet on.
BTA, I walked between 60 and 90 miles a week. I live on a small island and I walk or ride my bike everywhere. I rarely drive my car unless I am leaving the island. Not only did I do a fitness-type walk early each morning, I also walked all my errands. It adds up. (You should put a pedometer on and see just how many miles you walk in a day. You might surprise yourself.) So, I went from 60-90 miles a week to ZERO. As you might imagine it was a huge loss for me. Luckily, I had just started to do yoga, had been to one or two classes before the attack. I continued to go to yoga each week. I was able to walk there because the class I attended didn’t start until 7a. Even in the winter, it was light by the time I needed to leave my house to get there. (I know I could drive, but, to me, it seems silly to get in the car and drive to workout, especially when I can walk there.) Over the course of this last year, I have continued to do yoga and now do it 2 or 3 times a week. I feel like it was very important in the entire process of my healing. For one thing, it was exercise and since I basically was not walking, it was my only outlet. For another, in spite of the men in my class, I felt safe in the yoga studio.
I definitely mourn my walks in the dark. The truth is I loved walking alone in the dark. That was my meditating, praying time. I could talk (quietly, of course) out loud and no one could see my lips moving. I would listen to inspiring books. I saw the sunrise every single day. Not anymore. I think I have only seen it once since then and that’s only because I was taking a friend to the airport just as the sun was coming up. I understand that in the scheme of things this is relatively minor, but it was something I loved to do, something I looked forward to each day. It would be one thing if I had decided to stop getting up early, but I didn’t. The option of beginning my day with a walk alone in the dark is gone. Chances are I will never do it again and that makes me sad.
These days I wait until it is light to walk. And if I go to the 6a yoga class, I do drive. This morning, for instance, I will go to the 10:15a class, so I still got up early, but I will do work until it is time to leave to walk to the class.