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B.C. senior embarks on daily walks to pick up litter and spread kindness

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Langford, B.C. -

When Tom Kile retired, he made a commitment to maintain his physical and mental health.

“As soon as you quit,” Tom explains. “Everything starts falling apart.”

So he started taking daily walks around his seven-storey apartment building, travelling along every hallway, before hiking up and down every stair.

“By the time I get back to my suite,” Tom says. “It’s one mile.”

And then he’ll do the route all over again, completing two miles daily.

“It’s very much a wellness thing for me,” Tom says.

While walking supported his physical health, Tom started focusing on his mental health by putting pen to paper.

“I did a complete evaluation of myself,” Tom says.

The 76-year-old wrote a list of everything he liked and didn’t like about himself, before going through every item and asking what he could live with and what he couldn’t.

“If I could live with it, I crossed it off [the list],” Tom explains. “If I couldn’t live with it, I left it.”

Then Tom committed to fix the things he couldn’t live with and let go of the things he could.

“And then my life just soared,” he smiles.

The weight of the big things burdening him lessened.

Embarking on his daily walks outside, Tom found himself feeling angry about all the litter that lined his route.

“And I’m thinking the typical, ‘They should do this’ and ‘They should do that,’” Tom says.

Instead of being frustrated about what “they” did in the past, or what “they” should do in the future, Tom decided to take action and focus on what he could do in the present.

“Just pick [the litter] up,” Tom says. “It’s simple.”

And doing that during his daily walks has proven to be a powerful way to keep Tom feeling physically and mentally fit.

“When I’m out picking up garbage, it’s like a meditation," Tom says.

No matter the weather, Tom starts every day walking two miles outside, filling up to three bags full of garbage.

“It’s kindness and compassion,” Tom says. “And I build my life on that.”

It's a commitment to be kind and compassionate to himself with every step taken, and to his community with every piece of litter lifted. 

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