I began running today. I’ve run plenty of other times, in fact most of my life I’ve run for recreation and leisure, but I had taken a hiatus. I run for so many reasons. Because my pants feel tight, because I feel blue or maybe I feel “blah.” I run when I feel a little under the weather or if I’m cramping. I run to clear my head or to help me solve a problem. I run to feel the wind on my face and the sun on my shoulders.
But because I’m going through this process of “deconstructing” my life in order to put it back together better, I stopped doing many of the things I became so used to doing just because I’d always done them. The running, to me, had become symbolic of my life. Because I mindlessly cruise through my day like a hamster on its wheel, success was tied to how many “things” I could check off my list, not the meaningful interludes with people.
I was a lot like Bill Murray’s character in the movie, “Groundhog Day,” a weatherman who grudgingly travels to Punxsutawny Pennsylvania to cover Punxsutawny Phil, the groundhog. He finds the job to be beneath him, and is even more upset when he’s snowed in that night. Instead of going home the next day, though, the weatherman wakes up to find it’s the same morning of the day before. And, only he seems to know the day is a repeat. This happens morning after morning when he realizes there are no lasting consequences to his actions. Whether it’s overeating or acting like a jerk that day, it’s forgiven the next morning when he gets to live it all over again. He quickly finds this life to be a lonely one, and so to improve himself and, hopefully, “get the girl,” his outlook on life begins to change. He takes piano lessons, learns French, becomes an ice sculptor, but most importantly, he becomes a student of the people in the town he comes in contact with each day. As his focus is drawn from the inside out, he becomes a happier person and more attractive to those around him.
If I’m going to spend much time on an activity, I don’t want it to be a completely selfish and wasteful endeavor. If I’m trying to live more purposely, should something I ordinarily do by myself face the chopping block? As I run, I think about how basic, how elemental it is. By simply throwing on a t-shirt and sweats, stepping out my back door, and doing something I love, I can feel more passionately about the things that are important to me. Living my life more simply with less stress, I’m hoping to see through all my busyness to the things that really matter.