I arrived at the mall early in the morning. I decided to walk to the restroom and wait. I noticed many senior citizens walking in groups. As I walked, I began thinking of my novel, Beginning of the End.
I remembered how a significant plot point of the book is based on an older woman’s (Robin) troubled mentality. She hadn’t come to grips with how her lifestyle was changing as she aged, or how her appearance no longer fit the beauty standards of a culture obsessed with youth. Like many women her age, Robin felt discarded—or worse yet, invisible altogether. I recalled a scene where she was home alone, contemplating going to the mall for makeup.
“Phantasms of the local mall drained some of her energy. Thus, her arms uncrossed, and her body spun around on a crooked compass. Robin resented seeing the elderly women in colorful jogging attire striding past to stay in shape. “Running is extra stress that doesn’t help a person look any younger,” she quoted to herself, “—it’s all in the mind!”
Loud echoes sounded throughout the home. Robin began to mimic the mall walkers, as she stormed her way through the residence, to the office.”
The story developed from there. In her anger, Robin made a horrible decision that destroyed many lives. As I dwelled in the moment, thinking about how I had come to write the book, I was suddenly approached by a woman who started small talk. She was a mall walker who was striding along. “Do you come here often?” I asked. She smiled and said, “I come for solace, and a peace of mind. There is air-conditioning, and they also have chess.” We both smiled. She continued. “I can’t play chess, but I know it’s about protecting the queen or something.” Then she laughed out loud. “Have a good day!” she said.
I soon realized that none of the senior mall walkers had a phone in their hand. They were not giving in to the new cyber world—they were living in the present and maximizing the moment. Some were also in groups, encouraging each other to pursue on.
On the other hand, I did pull out my phone to look up the benefits of mall walking. I quickly discovered some important information.
“Members have been walking the mall anywhere from five years all the way up to 20 years. They range from ages 65 to 90 years old and tend to walk alongside those who have similar paces… Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston say women who walk 30 minutes a day reduce their risk of stroke by 20 percent. If they engage in brisk walking, that benefit increases to 40 percent.” — http://www.homeinstead.com/manassas-va
I continued my journey to the store to buy some shoes. I shopped, then left the mall. As I walked away, I felt enlightened: Most youth run to stores, overindulging in material goods that they don’t need. This behavior often hurts their course in life. However, the aged do the opposite; they avoid the mall’s marketing proposals and glittering lights. They were focused on a fashion which will better their lives.
I then thought once more of Robin’s anger when she said:
“Running is extra stress that doesn’t help a person look any younger,” she quoted to herself, “—it’s all in the mind!”
I determine that Robin was wrong. These people are not walking just to show off their colorful jogging outfits. The mall walkers are reliving their youth and reinforcing the quote, “good health is wealth.”
To learn more of Robins actions throughout the story, buy your copy today: Beginning of the End
Ken Overman is the author of the inspirational children’s book Don’t Call me the N- Word. He is also featured in Ventricular Soliloquies published in 2013, a former Wayne State University student studying Theater, and a student at Henry Ford College in Dearborn Michigan. He lives in Detroit, Michigan.