There is no way to become better at something without actually doing it. Running has given the novice writer in me confidence to see potential growth with practice. Running and writing are similar endeavors; the most profound expression of both of them come alive when we flow through them without thinking. Our thoughts escape our mind and are left on the page and the pavement. The writer measures progress through pages, the runners through miles. This is a unique circumstance in our lives- many of us have a lot of free time- I will use it to become a better writer.
Haruki Murakami is perhaps the most famous writer-runner. In the foreword of his memoir, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” Murakami emphasizes that “this is a book about running, not a book on how to be healthy.” His voice throughout the book is simple and honest, he avoids dogmatism while assuming a matter of fact tone. It resonates with me because the way he writes feels similar to the way I experience a great run- it feels honest. Honesty is a major theme in running. If you’ve ever hit the “wall” while running, you know what I’m talking about. He likens that notorious “wall” that marathon runners hit towards the final miles of a race as being similar to writer’s block. “The wall may seem like a mountain, but in context it’s just a hill with an end in sight.”
My Monkey brain has started to go to sleep on runs. On the tough days, its scratching the window to get in. On the easy days, its sleeping peacefully unbothered. Running wipes away the foggy veil of bullshit in my life. I run for my mental health. It’s a very spiritual endeavor for me. it makes me feel good. It shrinks my problems into nothingness. It throws stress and anxiety out the window. It has the power to heal me. I am able to work with and reason with it. It is a fair partner most of the time, but sometimes It’ll put me in my place if I overstep my boundaries. It has taught me things about myself that otherwise I wouldn’t have known.
The experience of being shitty at something-- in this case running-- to eventually become pretty decent at it has given me confidence to challenge myself with other things. It’s hard to keep doing something when you haven’t seen any return on your investment. Again, in these unique circumstances, time is on our side. With that I challenge you to find something that you are not good at, set a goal for yourself, and execute the goal. You may never find yourself with excess time like this. If hobbies become a part of you, you will always make time for them.
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