Two years ago, I was at the onset of what would become the most difficult quarter of my life. I had just completed a fall quarter with one of the most demanding architecture professors at Cal Poly, only to subject myself to yet another, more demoralizing individual with the goal of further advancing my study of architecture. To complicate matters, I found myself trying to sustain a faltering relationship 5700 miles apart, while applying to study abroad the following academic year myself. Unable to ignore the three additional classes I was undertaking, I was put to the ultimate test of endurance. I was fortunate to have one fallback in this chaotic journey – sunset jogs.
The solitude achieved in such a run might be the intent for which I am after. After all, the situations I am attempting to flee are usually brought in from external sources. By having time alone to reflect on these – or refresh my mind and consider something altogether new – I am able to recharge myself for all aspects of life. But the ability to retract from regular activities is not exclusive to twilight runs; I can do this at any time of day. There is something exceptional to the evening that distinguishes itself from the rest of the day.
Nothing releases the stresses of my life more than a long jog as day recedes into night. During the summer, the mixing of cool sea breeze settling among the golden hills conceives a mesmerizing fog no poetry can convey. Anyone who has witnessed the sheer volume that envelops San Luis Obispo from the west may agree that few phenomena create such spectacular or surreal imagery as this. The fog’s unavoidable blanket is impervious to individuality, masking all with a film of consistency. Yet I take these runs regardless of fog, as it is the experience of community that I ultimately seek.
There is a distinct characteristic that settles over a town as it transitions from the jittery interactions of day into the melancholy of night. San Luis Obispo, similar to my life in Florence, Italy a year ago, is welcoming in the livelihood of its communities at twilight. Neighbors doing yard work, conversing, sitting on porches – individuals reflecting on the true moments of life, not the obligations we live for. And the opportunity for these occurrences is exactly what my jogs are all about – understanding who I am and how I fit into my own life. I can’t let immaterialities such as architecture, English, or anything else interfere with my own being, for these are simply stepping stones from which to grasp knowledge and mold the individual I am to be. It is for this reason I believe in the healing power of sunset jogs.
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