This I Believe

Anne - Healdsburg, California
Entered on March 18, 2007

I stop living for an hour or two some days. It is intricate to explain and seems almost anomalous to my peers. I don’t remember how or when I started this hobby, but I finally found something that I can never have dissatisfaction with. It is so simple yet often rejected and misunderstood.

One foot in front of the other for miles and miles seems bland, but running is a hidden safe where my most prized possessions are kept. I keep my secrets along the different roads I run. I release something in my body that can’t be expressed in any other way. The rhythm of my feet beat to the sound of my music, the taste of clean air in the back of my throat fills my lungs with pleasure, and my body tingles with a satisfying ache. I am on top of the world and nothing is bad in my own little universe.

I will notice a fawn cross my path, or a hawk fly over head, but I never acknowledge the reality I pass that would interfere with the only world that revolves around me. Like waking up in the morning everyday for seventeen years I have created an automatic routine driven by instinct. I see everything, I stay out of the roads and dodge bikers, while my mind seems to play a movie in my head of all of my thoughts or memories. I will see a Redwood tree and instantly flashback to moments in my backyard during my childhood, playing under our Redwood tree. My music changes to the song Summer Time and I think about the Carmel Beach on the road trip with my friends. Then just as soon as I the memory flashes through my head, I think of the homework I have to finish and how I am going to tackle it. I think of my weekend and plan an hourly schedule while I ponder over excuses I could use for being past curfew. So many things go on at once but it is all at my control. I have time to dedicate to myself with a focused mind – no distractions.

Everybody needs alone time; I don’t like being alone because it is boring to be cooped up in the house curled in a ball alone with limited things to do. I can’t stand still or do the same thing for a long period of time. Sitting alone trying to think about things or just trying to relax makes me feel anxious and lazy. Running on a treadmill is no fun because it is the looking at the same thing cooped up in the house. I need to breathe the fresh air and feel the sun. Running is my alone time, it helps me cope with problems, it helps me realize things I didn’t notice before, it helps me figure things out or come up with solutions, it helps me stay sane by getting away from the crazy and stressful world I live in without boring me. It is hard to come up with your own raw opinions while accompanied by someone else throwing feed back and comments at you. That is why I keep many things to myself at first so I can have time to figure them out on my own, so I can think about them on my run before discussing them with other people.

There are simple hobbies everywhere that people indulge in: video games, cooking, sewing, reading, writing, or creating. Mine is running, something I don’t take seriously like basketball, which can be defined as a job – I have to be at practice at a certain time and all the practices lead up to a game. With running, I get to choose when and where I want to run. I get to stop my life for an hour or so to devote to myself. It is the best feeling to have that kind of power, it is like stopping time or being on a mental holiday where everything revolves around yourself. This is important to me; I believe running creates a balance in my life and helps me enjoy it.