When I first moved to Seattle in 2010, I lived on 1st Ave, which is three blocks up from the waterfront. One of those blocks is a fairly gradually incline, the other two are seriously steep. When thinking about walking along the waterfront or going to Six Seven for happy hour, I always gave a second thought to “Do I really want to walk back up?” Usually I would. But the climb gave me pause.
Then I moved to the apartment, which was two blocks down the hill — the steep blocks. If I wanted to go anywhere in the city other than the waterfront, I had to walk up the hill. It simply became something I did, often multiple times a day, and without pause or hesitation.
Yes, I have a car, and I use Lyft, and I have a discount senior bus pass. But part of living in a city is walking — so walking is my default way of getting around. Besides, the bus system doesn’t run up that hill — it runs parallel to it.
Now, in my new home, there is a seven block hill between me and downtown. All of the blocks are steep, and two are so steep you lean forward and almost go up on your toes. People bike up, but I could have never made it, not even in the prime of my biking years. With a hill, it’s not how long, but how steep the grade. This hill is right up there. When I lived downtown, I usually drove to Sara’s or Matt’s — not because of the distance, but because of the hill.
Now, I find the same perceptual shift happening re the hill. It’s just there, and part of my walk. I do it multiple times a week, without a second thought. And my body is adjusting.