Keeping up with Kincaid: Why did I rediscover walking?


Laken Kincaid

Campus Editor, Laken Kincaid, examines their thoughts for the past few weeks.

Laken Kincaid, Campus Editor

A little over two weeks ago, I made a self care regimen for myself. Because I have never really valued self care as much as homework or writing, I wrote “requirements” for my day on a sticky pad and taped it to my door. I framed tracking my well-being as a must rather than an “ought to” which has helped me prioritize my personal time. I have heard of people “budgeting” time for self care but it never quite stuck like something I must accomplish. 

Some of those things include journaling and reading at least one page of a book for leisure. Skin care was also highlighted. Other trivial things include cleaning my room and doing laundry (all things I forget about too often). However, at the top of my neon green note in plain handwriting is probably what I deem the most important facet of my nightly routine: walking for ten minutes a day. 

While this may seem menial, I have found it to be extremely beneficial in both self-discovery and self-aid. I perceive it as meditation on steroids; you move both your mind and your body. I often choose to walk around the quad or towards Shaker Heights. Other times, I see where the roads take me; I carefully tread the white and yellow lines just like a car.

Whenever I walk places, even if I do not have a destination, I find myself in a perpetual state of reflection. How has my day gone? How has my week gone? Honestly, sometimes I face the question “how has my life gone?” Anything can emerge when you put in headphones and let your thoughts take the reins. Better yet, try it with no noise at all and where all you face is your own ideas. 

I was told by those close to me that I need to start reflecting more. I mean, they are entirely right. I focus too much on the future and the worries that come with it. When I took the Gallup Strengths Assessment, futuristic was my top strength. Yet, I also think it is my greatest weakness. In Tier 3 Leadership class, I tried to dismiss this asset of my personality as nonexistent. I did not consider that it was the root of my anxiety. Futurism is not always a hopeful visage of what you hope to accomplish but sometimes it is a caricature of your worst fears for your life. 

I used to think a lot while walking my dogs when I was in high school. I looked forward to my leisurely saunters through my neighborhood where I would work out fake scenarios in my head over and over again. It was a time when I would dive into fiction and create stories that I never put to paper. It calmed me. 

Now, I think about my journey through college and life itself like an omniscient observer while walking. I lost the art of walking until I went home for Christmas break. Then, I remembered one of my friends from school and reminisced on how much he enjoyed his wandering during the first semester. In the face of anxiety during the winter, I began walking again.

When I was at a debate tournament last week, I found myself taking a stroll around the campus anytime I was panicking. There were times when I would ask others to go on a walk with me while I aired my grievances about the competition and other moments where I wanted to be alone as I worked through various situations in my head. 

Yesterday, I went on a walk with my friends. I used the time to consider my plunging German grade, my writing with the paper and even who I would become by this fall. Like a personal therapy session, I find I am able to talk myself down from spiraling in a process of self-loathing when walking. 

Because of these benefits, I have been able to keep up my tradition of daily walks. Whether it be alone or with others, whether it be to meander or with a destination in mind, I walk each day.