Just. Keep. Walking.
You know, Dory was right: When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Well, for Annie and I, it’s more like Just keep walking (and in keeping with our preferred method of marketing lingo: #imawalkdis)
With our two-year walkaversary (yup, we said it, roll with it) on the horizon and the holidays rapidly approaching, we thought it was time to share our not-so-secret way to decompress, de-stress, and, literally, get a breath of fresh air, all while working in arts marketing at a non-profit (yes, friends, it is possible). Here’s the interview Annie and I conducted…with ourselves.
Natalie J: So, remind me: how did this get started again?
Annie G: Early January 2013, just before the delight that is budget and renewal season.
NJ: Right, right. I believe you said something like: I need your help getting out of the office once a day, every day. To which I naturally responded, Absolutely! And then immediately asked: In any weather? I’m pretty sure you happily (yet secretly reluctantly?) agreed. There was some whining early on and I recall occasionally enticing you with chocolate in one hand and your coat in the other, but you’ve handled the cold weather quite well (says the one from Wisconsin)!
AG: Yes, you enthusiastically agreed to help make sure I did not continue to go into a “budget coma” during the bleak winter doldrums (when I have to work on two budgets simultaneously). It was so easy to say, I’ll just finish this one thing, and then I’ll get up to walk around…and then suddenly it was 5:00, it was dark, and I would have literally not gotten up all day except to go to the bathroom. Not a way to work! I really appreciate the days that you literally stand in my doorway with my coat and wait for me to get up. You also put up with my wimpy New Jersey girl whining about cold temperatures, wind, and otherwise crappy weather. One thing about committing to walking with a gal from Wisconsin is that there are literally no excuses. I think we have only skipped a couple of times during snowstorms or sideways rainstorms. And even then, we still ran up and down the lobby stairs a few times…
NJ: “Ran” can be defined pretty loosely there, I think. It’s more like stair climbing with a purpose…just sayin.
AG: Well…at least our heart rate went up.
NJ: True. Gotta work those glutes! People have often asked us where we go walking…care to divulge?
AG: Ohhh, if I told you, I’d have to kill you and then I wouldn’t have a walking buddy anymore.
NJ: …good point. #mumstheword
AG: Ok, so on our daily walks around an undisclosed location, we chat…
NJ: About a lot of things.
AG: But—mimicking an actual interviewer for a second—you’re around each other all day, don’t you get sick of each other?
NJ: I can’t tell you that in front of you. I kid, I kid…[beat]…are you still the interviewer or are you back to Annie now?
AG: [This was Annie’s exact reaction] …[beat]…what’s said on the walking path stays on the walking path.
NJ: Word. Ok, #butseriously. Most topics range from TV shows, social media, and sports to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness…
AG: It’s normal that we want to talk about work stuff some of the time, but what is really fun about our walks for me is that we can chat about many different things; you are a great listener when I have kid questions, running the gamut from teenager drama to basketball tips/advice for my son (it’s really helpful that you used to play and I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT!).
NJ: I love talking basketball with you (and discovering the parallels between sports and arts marketing)! That reminds me—I’ve gotta teach him the fine art of the pick and roll. You mentioned a little about this at the beginning, but let’s take it a step (haha, #walkingpun) further: why do you walk? (we’ll get to me in a minute, standby)
AG: I realized long ago that I am “gym-phobic” —really, who wants to use equipment that other people you don’t know have sweat all over? I much prefer to exercise with my kids, riding bikes or being outside doing something active (now I shoot basketballs!) Walking totally satisfies that! I also love it because it’s rejuvenating and makes me get up from my desk. Guess what? The work will still be there when I get back. I also have to do it because…well, I’m old. You don’t. You’re not old.
NJ: Aww, thanks. It keeps me moving, that’s what I like about it. I’m a pretty active person and just can’t handle sitting all day; I get antsy and a little stir crazy. Just after I graduated college and got a full-time internship at a regional theater in Rhode Island, sitting at a desk all day was quite an adjustment. I’d usually walk from the intern house to the theater every day, but that was only about 2 miles roundtrip; definitely not enough walking for this girl. In fact, I rallied some of my fellow interns that year and we took lunchtime walks too! Wow, I guess I’ve actually been doing this for quite some time now.
AG: See, you’re like the angel of walking! Thanks for getting me off my butt and for sneaking into the Dean’s Garden with me! (Oh, and the budget thanks you too. I was smothering it; we needed space.)
NJ: When I first moved to Princeton, I would go out and walk around town during lunch, mainly to get to know the town a little better. Walking solo can have its own therapeutic, calming benefits, but—even coming from my independent, only-child-self—it gets lonely pretty quickly. It’s really nice to have a walking buddy. There’s a pleasant sense of accountability there, ya know?
AG: Agreed. It’s always nice having someone to dodge the university golf carts with—and it’s good to know you can call 911 for me if I ever get run over by one.
NJ: Random fun fact: I actually typed most of this while walking (and miraculously didn’t trip over anything). Our walks tend to be a “digital disconnect” time too, now that I think about it. Kind of unintentionally I suppose, but it’s nice not to take a break from staring at a screen too.
AG: So, is this it? What’s next?
NJ: Calisthenics in the lobby…[beat]…you think I’m kidding…
Annie muses Pointe by Pointe.
Natalie is a Tall Girl in a Small State.
I love that you do this. My initial study of bodies at work (which lead to working with actors/chefs/bartenders/baristas etc.) came from my previous life as an advertising executive and my need to leave my desk (not just for a client meeting) and the angst others had when I disappeared for 30 minutes and dared to “take” lunch. I was roaming and breathing fresh air. It was the only thing that kept me sane. When I began teaching full time, I wanted to bring that idea of getting out of the office and your work brain for an hour to others through Pilates.
For years I tried to get the team at my local (very large) regional theatre complex to invite me in to teach everyone from marketing to box office to the costume shop to the actors. No luck. If only you ladies were down the street! Keep moving and my next time through, I’ll bring fascia kits for each of you – you can’t imagine how great that walk will feel if we release any fascial casting. Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t say, “Use your core and roll through those feet!”