One more step

Or maybe a thousand.

I got one of those fancy step counting watches for my birthday at the start of the month. I was fully intending to ignore the number of steps my shaky legs could do but somehow, curiosity got the better of me. The first day I checked I knew the number would be terrible as it had been a hot one. But when the temperature dropped, I discovered that while I could never get near the 3000 target, I could break a thousand. It is never easy to do but somehow it’s been good for me to have a little achievement to aim for.

It’s always when I’m on my last 100 that I start to struggle, and mostly that’s when I’m on my street, heading home. That final walk has become my Everest summit, my Camino.

Interestingly, I’m reading a book about two individuals doing the Camino de la Compostela. One of them didn’t set out to do it, but found herself on the route anyway. This is a walk I would have loved to do in another life but sadly not possible in this one.

People walk the Camino for many reasons- because they’re trying to find their way through grief, they’re looking for a purpose, they’re searching for a greater meaning. It is said that you don’t walk the Camino, ‘the Camino walks you.’ None of the high ideals can be reached without struggle, internal battles and blisters.

What I’m realising is that I don’t need to travel to Santiago to endure challenge and come out the other side a stronger person. That happens every time I push myself along my street towards my own front door. So it’s not a deeply spiritual experience and the scenery isn’t great, but I am still honing the qualities of humility, hopefulness and determination as I walk.

What is your Camino right now? The new life you have to carve out after lockdown? A recent grief? A new course of medication? A change of some kind that causes you anxiety?

All you can do is to take one step, then another, then another and soon you’ll be standing surprised at how much you’ve overcome, however painful the blisters.

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