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Mind the steps

confessions of a realistic pollyanna

It seems very hard to believe. 49 years ago this coming Friday, Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon. I was not quite 6 years old. My father told me to watch closely as this was a moment so fantastic that I would want to remember it for the rest of my life. And I do remember, the grainy images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of that small white disk that I could see way up in the sky each night.

The first words that Neil Armstrong said on the moon may have been misreported over the years. What millions of people heard was that "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". Some scholars believe Armstrong may have said "That's one small step for a man" instead. But whatever he said, I can still hear his voice echo in my ears.

As an able bodied person, since July 20, 1969, I have taken many steps in my life. If we take the 10,000 steps that we are supposed to walk each day as a goal, I figure I have walked about 178,500,000 steps since that day. Given that each step is about .6 metres or so (give or take) I have walked just over 107,000 kilometres or just over a quarter of the way to the moon (one way). Amazing. Some of those steps have been momentous. Steps like walking to meet our son Anthony for the first time. Steps like walking around magnificent monuments like the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. Steps when I have protested the treatment of refugees or marched for peace. Other steps were done just to get me from point A to B. Walking to the store, walking to the bus stop or the train. Some steps I have done with joy in my heart. Others have filled me with dread. Some steps are memorable. Some have been forgotten. Yet one step leads to another.

The point is, very few of us will take as momentous step as Neil Armstrong did 49 years ago. Few of us will walk on new worlds. And given the fact that we take so many steps in our lives, not every step can be memorable. My brain finds it difficult to remember all of the things on my grocery list, let alone 170 million plus individual steps. But I think as we journey in life, we must make sure that some of our steps count. We must live so that our lives have meaning. We must live realising that if we want change in the world, we have to work towards that change. We must live realising that each one of us are like Neil Armstrong, exploring new and different worlds. So mind your step. Blessings.

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