On taking walks after lunch

In which I reflect on the joys of taking walks

Olivia Weng, Nov 29, 2019

Dear reader,

Taking walks after lunch, mostly alone but occasionally with friends, has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. I used to approach college with a keep-your-foot-on-the-gas-for-the-love-of-all-that-is-good mentality. Not working was bad and a waste of time. Then the unsustainability of it all hit me around my third year. It was only halfway through the year, and I woke up every day feeling burned out, worn out. I still had a year and a half of college left, and this would not do.

Change must happen! I knew I ought to start taking more breaks to let my body and mind recuperate and relax, but I was unsure how. When discussing this with a good friend of mine, he had said he was trying to take a short half-hour walk after lunch every day but was finding it hard to actually step outside. We made a pact: we would both take walks every day after lunch and send each other a picture of a part of the route we had taken.

This picture pact proved to be very effective for us. Knowing that I wanted to get off campus for at least some part of my walk, I chose a route that I normally would not traverse when going through my everyday activities on campus. My route also conveniently passed by some good coffee shops and included lots of trees and shrubberies along the way. With some semblance of nature and being off campus on my path, I was finally able to ensure that every single day I would

I chose to take the same route every day, but I introduced a slight bit of difference by making sure I chose a different spot/building/object to take a picture of each time. This picture would be proof—to me and my friend—that I had left my studies behind at the library and interacted with the outdoors. Then, I would send it to my friend, along with a clever caption, e.g., “It’s sunny!”

Two hours after my walk—I live in Chicago, and he lives in Seattle—, I would receive a lunch walk picture from my friend. To my surprise, I loved receiving this picture because I could get a glimpse into the life of a lives-too-far-away friend. I saw what he saw, and he saw what I saw.

For a brief moment around lunchtime, we would experience each other’s day together.

all my best, O

P.S. UChicago’s nearby urban greenery


paired with a far-off view of Mount Rainier from UW’s campus.