I believe in running. No surprise, right? I believe it is one of the most worthwhile things I can do with my time. Here are some of the reasons why.
Though this belief doesn’t always insulate me from wrestling with assumptions that running can seem vaguely like an escape response.
This notion of running away, it’s my understanding is a primal part of why we run, yes, but does it stop there? Sure we may spook easily, and whether it’s to beat the jittery feeling in our legs or to escape from our lives, even for a minute, I struggle with the implications of this. I like my life! On a very deep level and for the first time, maybe ever, I’m content. Shouldn’t I feel less compelled to run from it?
In the past I’ve understood this compulsion a bit more: I ran from college. from bad relationships, and amazing ones. I ran from one traumatic work environment to another. from grad school and thesis writing. I ran from student teaching. I once even ran to South America (not literally, sadly). I’ve gotten so good at running its a reflex.
Should I be ready to stop running? What does it, or doesn’t it, mean, if I keep going?
If life is a circle, as they say, at some point, all this running away I’ve been doing is getting me closer to, not farther from, something better. I believe in running, and in the delicate dichotomy that exists in it: the escape and the journey. I believe in the virtue of braving the things beyond, while being at peace with what lies behind.
The conclusion, in my humble estimation, is that running away is only the beginning, only the impulse to get us out the door. A direction. Once we’re out there, who’s to say when it stops being about running away and when it becomes about running toward something.
“But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.”
– Junot Diaz from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao