Walking Toward Sanity

by Bill Brenner on September 12, 2010

As a kid living on Revere Beach, long walks were my lifeline to sanity. At least once a day, I walked the entire length of the crescent-shaped coastline, from the edge of Revere Beach Boulevard to the city’s border with Winthrop. In more recent years, I haven’t walked much. But recent events are rekindling my love for it.

Mood music:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwKEdFoUB0o&fs=1&hl=en_US]

I spent a lot of time walking around New York City this morning. I’m staying in Brooklyn for the CSO Security Standard event, but my hotel room wasn’t ready when I arrived, so I looked outside at the Brooklyn Bridge and decided to walk across it, just for the hell of it.

I walked into Chinatown for coffee with a couple friends, then I walked to Ground Zero. Being the day after the 9-11 anniversary, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Last time I was at Ground Zero I left in a pretty depressed mood, but this time, strangely enough, I felt inspired. A lot is happening on that site, including construction of two memorial pools in the footprints of the twin towers, surrounded by trees, with a new Freedom Tower rising up at the edge.

Also inspiring is that nine years later, the people of NYC are keeping the memories of the victims alive. One example is this shrine to the firefighters who lost their lives:

By the time I walked back over the Brooklyn Bridge to check into my room, five hours had passed and I was exhausted. But I felt like I did exactly what I was supposed to do before settling in to work.

Long walks like this have always restored my sanity.

During all those walks on Revere Beach, I’d be trying to think through all the childhood chaos and find a way forward. I always did.

When the kids were still small enough for the double stroller, I’d take them on a 3.5-mile walk in our Haverhill neighborhood.

I stopped walking in recent years because life just got to busy. Or at least that’s how I’ve rationalized it. The truth is, I think I’ve been making excuses.

Yesterday morning Sean wanted to do that 3.5-mile walk with me because it brought back special memories for him. So that’s what we did.

Between that walk and todays stroll around NYC, I’m starting to realize walking was an important tool for me.

It’s time I dusted that tool off and started using it again.


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