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How to walk to town

In five steps

Walking to town is not as easy as it sounds. As in life, there are times when you need to be a little less self-conscious, to repel self-pity. You should not enter into it lightly. Do so, and you will miss the opportunity to feel less isolated, to show yourself and the world that you have influence, vision and community spirit. To assure success, consider these recommendations.

1 // Choose a bright, shiny day

Weather sets the tone, and your sidewalk stroll to the downtown buildings in the distance should be jubilant.

2 // Dress appropriately

Remember, your walk to town is a TRIUMPH, an homage to the rebirth of your individuality. Grab your red, white, and blue top hat, the one with all the stars on top and sparkler burns along the brim. Pull out those gold lamé pants you thought were so cool in the 70s. Shirts are optional—make your own decision—after all, this is a liberating moment for you. Seize it.

3 // Accessorize

Find that cane or walking stick you never used. It will be an integral part of your ensemble. Not only will you look smart; you can twirl it as you high-step down the concrete slab or pump it enthusiastically like the drum major you always wanted to be. Do it to shut up those water-cooler jerks at the office. Do it because it feels good. Do it because this is your breakthrough moment of walking to town, by God.

4 // Recognize the importance of walk mechanics and recruitment

You are not walking down a grocery aisle, nor updating your phone software, nor choosing a beer with more hops, nor anything else, for that matter. You are walking to town, dadgummit. This is a moment in time you will never forget. Get in the spirit. You’ll be glad you did.

Swing your arms to and fro. Swing them back. Swing them forward. Make large fleshy arcs that will send a strong signal to those who come out of their houses to watch you strut. Swing, march, swing, march, swing to your new rhythm. Beckon the gawkers to join in. Use this chance to be a part of humanity, for heaven’s sake. Wave to them. Grab them by the hand and say, “Howdy, neighbor,” and smile real big. Persuade them to be a part of the journey. March in place to your favorite John Phillip Sousa tune—“The Stars and Stripes Forever,” perhaps. Whistle the melody. Sing your favorites lines, like, “Patriotic hearts will falter never, following the stars and stripes forever.”

While they rush back to their closets to get appropriate clothing and accessories, imitate a trombone, exaggerating the motion of pushing the instrument’s slide out to its limit and snapping it back.

As they stream out of their houses, compliment them on their themed clothes, praise their accessories, and call them “neighbor” again. Keep marching in place. Encourage them to march to the cadence of your stomping feet. Whistle louder. Tell them to whistle. Tell them you are darn glad that your paths have crossed. Energize your recruits to be advocates for the experience.

Know that people happily walking to town attracts more people who’ve always wanted to walk to town but have never had the guts to do it alone. Some will break off from the parade; they lack the vision. Let ‘em go.

Behind you is the glory of a parade of fleshy, swinging arms, sweaty from the joint effort, joyful in the beaming sun. This is happening because of you. Imagine what may be next for you. For them! Imagine it.

5 // Congratulate your fellow marchers

As you approach the center of town, stop the parade and turn to your energized followers. See yourself wearing a combat helmet with two general stars. Remind your acolytes of the journey they’ve taken. Remind them that the walk to town is more than a physical achievement. Remind them that this is an emotional moment—a life-changing moment. With each reminder, increase the volume of your voice, wave your arms and point to each person, singling them out as important members of your squad. Tell them you will be proud to walk to town with them any time. End with a fist raised high, saying, “We didn’t know we could do it, but we did.”