The Audacity to Not Be Good at Something and do it anyway

“We treat our plans as though they are a lasso, thrown from the present around the future, in order to bring it under our command.” Oliver Burkeman.

It would be nice, at least on the surface, if this were true about plans.

I have two dates in the future when I am prepared not to be good at what I have signed up for.  The first one is this Sunday when I am registered to walk the 1/2 Marathon during race weekend in Ottawa. Although I have walked eight of these, I haven’t done so since COVID, and I am not confident I will complete it in the allotted time.

I am, however, confident that I will exert myself to do this walk and stop if I need to.

Why bother, you might ask? I have asked myself that question, and although it is not a cakewalk, there are things about it that I do enjoy—the company of my cousin Sonya, who has accompanied me on most of these walks; the collective effervescence of the Ottawa community who run, walk and cheer on the sidelines; the satisfaction and gratitude I experience that my body can do so. However, I know I am not as fit as I was in 2019, but if I wait to get fit enough, I may never do this again.

This leads me to my second purpose, where I cannot predict how well that will go either.

I am hiking the Kumano Kodo in Japan in October with my daughter and eight Japanese friends. So, this first walk on Sunday will give me information about the state of affairs of my body and where I need to focus my preparation. Of course, the Kumano is more or less straight up and down, and the course in Ottawa is flat. Nevertheless, it will be informative.

The Kumano is a walk I have always wanted to do, and to be able to do this in the company of my kind, gracious and hospitable Japanese friends and my daughter is kind of unbelievable. They are accomplished hikers, yet they are willing to include me in their circle, knowing I will slow them down. I am not being falsely humble here; this is reality. I am also prepared to do this pilgrimage trail as best I can, even knowing I may hold our group up. So, this Sunday is the beginning of my preparation.

What I can do is – do my part.

That is entirely up to me. And thanks to the internet, everything I need to know about preparing is as close as my keyboard. I can even see the terrain and long stretches of the hike. How amazing is that!

And all of us, other than my daughter, are between 66 and 80 as of today.

Something about stretching ourselves mentally and physically builds resilience, courage and well-being. I knew this theoretically from the literature but experienced it firsthand from my bike trip around the Cabot Trail when I turned 65. I came off that mountain thinking I could take on the world, and the euphoria lasted for several weeks. For my regular readers, you know that I am not suggesting that you all climb mountains, although I can safely suggest that we all consistently move our bodies.

This idea of trying things where we know we won’t shine applies to everything new and/or old that you haven’t done in a long time. To be a lifelong learner, to cultivate hobbies, and to have fun and adventures, we need to be prepared not to be good at it. We get better the more times we do whatever it is we want to do. The sad thing is to live our lives with regrets for something you really wanted to do and could have done, and you didn’t give it a shot.

Inertia is a powerful force. This is a good reason to find friends to do things with. My chances of going to Japan by myself to hike the Kumano are not impossible but highly improbable. I can count on myself to take a walk or a bike ride but for new or harder challenges, the company of others up our chances of following through.


1:) A big thanks to Sonya for flying into Ottawa tomorrow so she can walk with me for 21.1 km on Sunday. And a big shout out to Yoshie and all my Japanese friends who will accompany my daughter and me on the Kumano in October. I can hardly wait for both of these events.

2:) Let’s sing while there is voice left. (do the things that are important for you to do while you still have the chance)

3:) The eight people walking the Kumano are in the banner photo. This beautiful photo was taken when they were here to hike the Rockies in 2019. The shoes belong to me and three cousins in Halifax, 2019 – my last 1/2 marathon.

4:) Thank you for reading my blog! I appreciate your encouraging words and your good company. A reminder to turn over every stone as we work to resolve the problems that come and go throughout our lives. And to take the time every day to notice the beautiful. All my best wishes, Trudy





8 replies
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      A wonderful event to look forward to dear Meghan. So glad that you are my daughter!
      Love always from your mother.

  1. Janice+Falls
    Janice+Falls says:

    Sending joy and stamina to you and Meghan and Sonja for the walk – you are always an inspiration Trudy. May we long continue our more leisurely walks around the neighbourhood 🙂 xoxox

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Janice. Today looks like a good day for our long walk. Maybe we will get to do a leisurely recovery walk later in the week. As always, Trudy

  2. Yoshie
    Yoshie says:

    Enjoy the walk! I will send you wind to push you through the walk. Your friends and I can hardly wait to walk Kumano with you and Meghan.

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you dear Yoshie and friends, for your good wishes. I will be aware of the wind from Japan helping me along. As always, Trudy


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