That in itself is nothing unusual, as there is often fog in early spring here. The remarkable thing is that I realized it when I noticed that the trees in the distance grew indistinct.
I have to insert a little aside about myself here. I was a geek before geekdom was cool, spending my time buried in books and computers at the fringe of the social hierarchy. I grew up to be invisible and the more invisible I grew the more I curled up and looked down. For years I never saw beyond the few feet of concrete in front of me.
I got real good at avoiding dog poop, and found a coin now and then, but I never faced the world.
That started to change some twelve or fifteen years ago. Through a series of events for which I can’t take any credit I broke out of my self-destructive rut and started to dare to dream. (I apologize if this sounds vague. I’ve written on this topic a number of times but so far all of those writings have been for cathartic purposes. Perhaps some day I’ll share them but not right now.)
I started to dare but I didn’t dare, not yet. I started to dream but I didn’t start towards my dreams. But through tiny, tiny steps I began to advance towards where I wanted to be in life. I started to write, I quit computer gaming, I finished my education, married my wife, got a job, lost a job, got a child (didn’t lose her), got another and walked, walked, walked further away from who I had been and towards something.
A bit step towards that something came yesterday when I realized that I was seeing the trees in the distance. I was no longer hunched over.
Not walking hunched over staring at my feet has been one of the hardest habits to break. It’s been so ingrained in me, in my very being, my style of self, that I’ve come to accept that no matter how many times I forced myself to look up I’d always end up realizing I was looking at the gravel again.
Yesterday I realized I was looking into the distance. And I didn’t stumble. And I didn’t fall. I didn’t even step in poop.
And I am indeed walking tall.