For the last six months or so, I’ve not wanted to run alone. I guess I needed the chatter of my friends, keeping me from thinking too much about the stuff going on in my life. But Wednesday, I decided it was time to try a run by myself. After all, it’s just me. I used to love taking a run by myself. Time to think, regroup, recenter.
As I started to run, my first thought was, “I wish I had headphones.” It reminded me of the line from Gwendolen, in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, who said, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” What is so difficult about just running without anything but me?
History is filled with stories of amazing people who spent significant time alone – in reflection and working on their lives, thoughts and dreams. But not in our world. We’re just not used to being totally alone.
Maybe we (read: me) are afraid of our thoughts … our tapes. Maybe our (read: my) thoughts are not all golden and happy or productive or even important. But, what’s wrong with that? I’m not perfect and I’m not pretending to be.
As I was running, I decided to listen to what was around me: the sound of my jacket rustling. My breathing. The gentle rain as I looked through my wet glasses. Then I stopped. Not because I was tired, but because I realized I was crying. It hit me how fortunate I was to be in that spot, in the rain at that very moment — all by myself. I was overwhelmed with the good fortune I have to be here, not in Syria. How beautiful the gray, cloudy, rainy day was. How did I get so lucky to have so much in my life – even when my tapes say something is missing?
Let’s not to waste the opportunity of that rare and precious commodity – being alone – even if it’s just a split second in your mind. I anticipate I will have much more time alone when my kids leave and I’ll manage that when I get there. But for now, the small amount of alone time I have provides me with an opportunity to accept myself as I am, wherever I am in my journey.
And friends, let’s not forget that in the end, we eventually meet all life’s greatest tests by working on them internally – and alone.
Have an amazing weekend!