How the GRID saved my Summer

By Traci Hines

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What happens when you find yourself in the middle of change, a lot of change? It can be so unsettling and debilitating if you let it. This summer I found myself in the middle of tremendous change… lots of endings and new beginnings. My youngest of four graduated high school and is moving across the country, and at the same time my two and a half year relationship ended and I had to move. Three decades of parenting (the full time kind) are over. I am now faced with “What is next?” I am sad and excited all combined. So what does one need to survive the storms of life, expected and unexpected?

Here are five steps I used to get back into the groove.

First- Find a routine.

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Back in May, I decided that I would walk 4 miles every day for three months. I didn’t realize how much this little act saved me. I have my route I walk on the grid every day. I don’t have a certain time, but ever day come heat or more heat, I am out on the grid. I start at Peets on 19th and S and walk down my loop down to L Street and loop around K Street. When I was unsure of where I was going to live, I knew where I was going to walk. The routine gave me some normalcy, something I could count on and control. Plus the bonus mood stabilizing effect of moving my body. Sooooo good for the soul. I wasn’t isolated as there were people all around me, yet I didn’t have to talk if I didn’t want to,  I could just BE… me.




Second-Find the Connection.

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I can look around me and see so many people, laughing and connecting. It makes me smile to see couples in love, people running around being silly. The bonus for me is that all of my daughters, and their boyfriends, (believe it or not) all come and join me from time to time on the walk. We talk, we laugh, we cry, we vent… it is good for the soul. It restores hope. And bonus… The walk goes by much faster!!!







Third-Find the Freedom.

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I find myself processing the past, contemplating my future, appreciating my present while walking. I am able to let go of what is no longer serving me. What happens on the walk stays on the walk. I feel like I am able to purge the pain, and regain a sense of hope again. Letting go… releasing old emotions, claiming my life back on my terms.







Fourth- Find the vision.

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The DREAM. You know those dreams that need to be dusted off and yes, even the new dreams. I have spent time actually looking up on the walk, looking at things I have missed while focused on the hustle and bustle. There are so many wildly wonderful things that we can have if we allow it. I find myself thinking about the “what ifs”. (Don’t mistake this for the should’s.) What if I started writing a book, what if I started running again… You know getting back into the idea of what makes me come alive?! It is freeing when we give ourselves permission to find the reason, our reason.






Fifth- Find the Funny.

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Laugh. Be silly. Let loose. Did you know that the best times to go walking on the grid are late Saturday Nights, especially Second Saturday. The things you see!! The things people say!! The things people wear!!With many trips around the grid, I found that on 21st Street and K they have the most gum on the sidewalk. No clue why, but every time I walk by now, I smile. I have learned to say “not today” every time I am asked for money! Some nights, for fun, I say “today” and make someone’s day by giving food or money. The conversations that can be had with the people waiting in line at the clubs, pure gold and entertaining!

So while I may not be able to control all of life around me, I find peace and comfort in my daily walks on the grid. I have a routine that allows me to gracefully engage back in life, help to let go of the pain more quickly, and to find a sense of community in this great city. If by chance any of you are experiencing some change or stagnation in your life, I encourage you to get out there, look around, look up, look down, you might just be surprised what you see and more importantly how you feel after some time on the grid.

Make summer memories on the grid!


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