Walk in her Shoes – Grief and Gratitude…

In June 1, 2017
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This month, I took part in the Walk in her Shoes fundraising week. The challenge: walk 10,000 steps (5 miles) every day for a week. Why? To raise money for young girls in Africa, who walk many miles every day just to get clean water and lose out on an education as a result. The problem: a 9-5 office job means most days, to my shame, I only average 4,000-5,000 steps max!!! So I decided to keep a diary every day and this is how my week went…

Day One: Today I got up at 5.30am and put my Fitbit on straight away to start tracking my valuable steps, every little helps! I even did some morning cleaning to kick start my day. I took my trainers into work and wore them around the office – my theory being that I will walk more if I am at least in comfy shoes. I started the day strong, parking my car the furthest away in the car park, so I had an extra little walk to the office. But as the day wore on, my movement started to slip and I finished the working day with over 3000 steps left to do. On the way home I cried in my car as the emotion hit me that I will never get to speak to my Nan again. She died yesterday, and although I didn’t see her all the time, the cold reality that this person is gone and you will never hear their voice again is heartbreaking. But this challenge gives me something to focus on and after dinner it’s off for a dog walk with my wonderful Mum and Dad. Having a rare moment of time with them, not talking about work or sat in front of the TV is nice. We spend the walk laughing, reminiscing and complaining that if this challenge is so hard for us; imagine how hard it is for those children in Africa. In that moment, despite all the grief, there is also gratitude. I am grateful for everything I have, the time I had with all my grandparents who have now passed and the precious time I still have with my Mum and Dad. I finished the day feeling a little lighter and with 10,449 steps in the bag. Let’s hope I can keep it up!

Day Two: It was a slow start today and being in meetings all day meant a lot of sitting around and not much movement, so I got home with some serious steps left to do. This time though, Chris suggested we drive to the beach and go for a sunset walk. It amazes me how we take things for granted. The beach is right on our doorstep, but we hardly ever go there and I really don’t know why? Normally I finish my day feeling a bit drained, my head tired, but still racing with all the things I didn’t get done and will need to do tomorrow! But as soon as we hit the beach, I calmed. The sound of the waves relaxing me and silencing my usually busy mind. The wind and fresh air actually made me feel more energised and by the end of the walk I had not only hit my steps (10,136), but I felt happier and more at peace. Let’s see if I am still this enthusiastic about walking more by the end of the week! 🙂

Day Three: So today is the mid-week slump. It’s Wednesday! Whilst I made a strong start to the day, wall to wall meetings left me feeling exhausted, I was so tempted to just curl up in bed and have an early night. Thankfully I resisted temptation and ended up going for a nice long walk with Chris and Tink (our sausage dog). I lost track of time and my steps, while me and Chris chatted, caught up with each other and reconnected over work, future plans, the new house etc. It was nice to have some time together, not in front of our phones, really paying attention to each other and I hit my personal best so far this week, with 11,296 steps! Let’s see if tomorrow I can hit 12,000!

Day Four: Well that was a close one! The day was very slow and I was caught in meetings which overran, so my steps were not on track! Plus all this extra walking is starting to catch up on me, my legs have started to ache a bit more today, making moving even less desirable! To my shame I arrived home with 5000 steps left and to make matters worse the heavens decided to open! So far this week I have been really lucky and the weather has been perfect for some lovely evening walks, but tonight was the real test! Would I go for my walk in the pouring rain?! The answer was apparently yes! As it started to tail off, I set out in the miserable, cold evening air and got ready to pound the pavement. The walk done, I finished the evening hitting 10,652 steps! Not the 12,000 I was hoping for, but not bad considering how behind I was at the start of the evening…I do think this walking stuff is starting to wear off!

Day Five: So it turns out that having meetings helps me do more steps not less. Today was an admin day, no clients to meet and walk upstairs with, which basically meant I had a day sat on my computer catching up on emails and admin. In short I moved very little. Even parking the furthest away in the Tesco car park wasn’t enough to help me. An extra long, late night walk was all I could do to get my steps done. It was made extra nice by roping in Mum and Chris to walk with me. I always like to have a walking buddy or two with me along the way. I finished the night at 10,736 steps!

Day Six: Okay so it turns out that weekends are even harder! A nice morning lie-in, catching up on personal work on the laptop all highlighted how much of a sloth I can be on the weekends! It got to 3pm and I knew I was going to be in trouble if I didn’t start seriously moving. I took the dog for a walk on my own, something I have never done before, I prefer to always walk with someone else…not sure why? Maybe it’s a confidence thing, but it was nice, just me, Tink and my thoughts. Then a quick pitstop at home, before another walk along the beach, this time with Mum & Dad (I think they might be getting into this walking thing too). The evening came and I still had nearly 4000 steps to do, but my wonderful Sister-in-Law came to the rescue. After a long overdue girly catch up over dinner, it was late and we were both full, but bless her, she walked with me all around Port Solent Marina, admiring the boats in the dark and zig zagging through the car park back to the car for extra steps, hitting 10,072 by the end of the night.

Day Seven: The last day has finally arrived! My legs and feet are killing me. My dog remains very confused about why we keep taking her for walks every day this week and every time we head for the door, she looks at us expectantly, like “is it time for another walk”? The glorious weather made it easy today. A long walk along the beach watching all the windsurfers was a great way to start the morning. We stopped for a cheeky ice-cream and then carried on walking some more. A necessary pause was needed to celebrate my Father-in-Law’s birthday with a lovely afternoon garden tea party, but the evenings are so light now that even at 8pm, we managed to squeeze in a final dog walk to finish off the week and hit my final 10,733 steps for the week.

Conclusion

I know for some people 10,000 steps a day is not a lot, but for office-job layabout like me, it was a real challenge. At the start of this week, I was not looking forward to this challenge, my Nan had died on Sunday and the last thing I needed to be thinking about was walking 10,000 steps a day for charity.

However, instead of grief, this challenge has given me such gratitude. Walking this week has given me a chance to reflect on things, but also connect with the people I love the most, who have walked with me. On my walks I have found myself thinking about how grateful I am for the life I have, for the time I had with those who are no longer here and for the time I have with my friends and family who are still with me. I am grateful that unlike so many women in Africa, I do not have to walk miles every day just for some clean water. I am grateful for the education and opportunities I have had which many women are not able to receive. Of course, I am extremely grateful to all of our Clients who generously sponsored me to help raise money and awareness for this fantastic cause.

Thank You!

To sponsor me you can visit my Just Giving Page

To find out more about Walk in her Shoes visit: Care International UK

 

Jasmine has been a qualified Financial Planner since 2008. She has also been a member of the Society of Will Writers since 2012. She is passionate about helping Clients build their wealth and achieve the financial lifestyle they desire. Her areas of expertise are that of Savings, Investments, Pensions and Retirement Planning.

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