Keeping Running Shoes Nearby
My running shoes are always close by. I am a runner, though not in the literal sense. But when things get uncomfortable, my first response is to run.
looking back on my journey, and I am like Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump yelling, “I was running,” and I was! In my twelve-year marriage, from 1992 to 2004, my ex-husband and I moved fourteen times! I think, perhaps, I married another runner!
We did our running with three kids, and guess what? They had running shoes too! When I look at that time in my life, it brings up a lot of different feelings, and I remember how I felt during those times of changing everything again. I felt lost, unsettled, perplexed, confused, sad, worried, anxious, and defeated.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
It is like the book Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn I read in the nineties, which still rings true to this day. It’s so difficult to figure out what we were running from, and I can only speak for myself. From an early age, it appeared that I had the traits of a runner. It looked adventurous and exciting, and getting praised for that behavior was confusing. I’d hear things such as “Look at Debbie, she is on another adventure!”
Looking back, I know what was actually going on. When I get really uncomfortable in my own skin, in a new environment, or in a relationship, it seems like a good idea to move, take a trip, or break off a relationship. I am sorry to the men I hurt along the way. I truly did not know that I was simply living in massive fear.
All I really wanted was a traditional home life: you know, with the backyard and a dog. But guess what? That isn’t really who I am. I did not grow up with any of those things—I just “thought” home life should be like that. I am actually not that traditional. It took me years to figure out what I really like and need and what I value (and I am still figuring it out).
If someone mentions Mexico, my first thought is “Yes, let’s go.” I have been working on some pretty intense stuff lately, so my running shoes are very close by. I so badly want to get in my car and go on a road trip or fly off to Cabo.
Instead, I let those moments pass, breathe deeply, and ask myself some very important questions:
- Why do you want to go?
- Are you running?
- Will this benefit your purpose?
- Is this just a distraction?
- Most importantly, will this make you happy?
Read Your Checklist
In the checklist for maturity, #14 says, “Makes reasonable plans and tries to carry them out in an orderly fashion; does not do things on the spur of the moment without due consideration.”
This one is aimed at those of us who are runners. If the first response we have is to change our environment, we start looking for our running shoes. We run so we can feel better about ourselves.
#14 knows that nothing good will come from running!
#14 gets me—it really gets me!
From where I sit today, I am happy to report that over the last ten years I have lived in my home in Los Angeles, though I have wanted to move a hundred times! The difference is now I know the signs.
My kids have noticed the change in me and said, “This is the longest we have lived anywhere,” and it is true.
Running for me came from my childhood trauma (I am not blaming anyone), and I am definitely not a victim. I just finally understand why I feel this response. Now when I get the urge to pack a suitcase, I know I can sit with my uncomfortable feelings, breathe deeply, and ask myself those five questions.