What Are You Running To

“All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.”
~James Thurber

I have spent my life running; running in circles, through fields, and across thousands of miles of pavement.  I ran to get places, to get away from problems, to get away from people, to get in shape, to be fast…to win.  It is such a simple act, to move, but in that simplicity you learn so much about yourself.  I always thought I ran because I loved to compete, the thrill of the chase and the elation of victory.  What I have learned is that I run to find out who I am.

Running exposes the glaring truths about the inner depths of your being.  Am I going to be tough today, or am I going to be a wuss?  It’s raining, or snowing, or hot…do I really need that second run?  I had knee surgery, will anyone blame me if I quit?  Runners are definitely odd ducks, but we’re happy with who we are and we are comfortable in our own skin.  So why is it that a bunch of scraggly, skinny, akward guys are happier and more confident in themselves than most of society?  It’s because running teaches you who you are.

If I had one suggestion for high school graduates is figure out who you are.  I don’t mean figure out what you like to do, what you want to major in, or what your profession is going to be.  I mean figure out who YOU are.  Honestly, if you know that than you are going to be alright because the rest is just bull sh!t.  If you truly know who you are, then life will work itself out. You’re going to make mistakes, your going to fail, and life will not go the way you planned (life’s not fair…get a helmet).  If you figure out who you truly are, you’ll be able to lay your head down at night and be content.

So your probably saying, well that’s great but how do I do that?  If I had that answer, I’d be making a lot of money and be selling a lot of books.  Maybe you need to find what you love to do, and just live life.  I run.  Ghandi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  I think the path to self enlightenment is different for everyone, but knowing who you are will get you through some gloomy days, and make most of them incredibly bright.  Buen Camino.


The Boy circa 2005. Ok, so can you blame me for thinking this kid was cocky when I first met him 😉 Ballin'!

Bio: I am from the 513.  I love running 100 mile weeks, Rubix Cubing, and being a member of the Ring of Honor at the Flying Saucer.  I have a Compostela from the Camino de Santiago, and I wear my PF Fliers to run faster and jump higher.

OK, so that was what he wanted you to know.  I’m going to add a bit on to that.  It’s only fair right, when you write a post about knowing who you ARE and not just what you like to do.

Yes, the Boy is an insane runner and amazing competitor.  He loves Rubix Cubing (yes, I am in support and am actually an enabler in this).  As of tomorrow he will be in the Ring of Honor at the Saucer (as will I and yes, our parents are proud).  Last summer he did go to Spain, became fluent and went on an amazing ride on the Camino de Santiago (no he didn’t take me…I’ll have to catch the next trip 😉 and his PF Fliers are awesome.  Ben is also of the Class of 2010. He’ll also be receiving two diplomas tomorrow from Belmont.  We’re not sure which he’s prouder of, the Ring of Honor or two diplomas.  BUT…that’s only what he likes, not who he is.

I love this picture. This is the Boy after finishing the Camino in Spain.

This whole series, as my friends’ posts fill my inbox, I read them and think to myself how lucky I am to have such amazing friends! I got the Boy’s and was overwhelmed with how blessed I am.  Sure, it had a lot to do with how amazing I think he is but it was more than that.

We’ve been together for three years (holy cow, I just now realized that)!  Both of us have changed and grown so much and it’s been so fun to watch. I think it’s so funny when people break up because the other person “changed.”  What changed?  What they liked?  What they did?  I care about this man so much.  Not the fact that he is a runner, learner, an explorer or can make me cry laughing, but because of his core.  WHO he is, who he was and who he is striving to be.  No matter what hobbies he picks up, or what he decides to do after college, I get to watch him learn more about who he is and I love that.

The Boy and me after a day on Lake Michigan

This past year I have watched him grow so much and to read these words and his advice to those graduating, to find out who you are and all the rest will work itself out, to me it encapsulates all the incredible change I’ve been lucky enough to watch in him this past year.  That’s another thing I love.  This guy won’t tell you anything he doesn’t know is true…from experience.

Tomorrow I am excited about to watching him walk across the stage and receive his diplomas.  I am so proud of not just his wonderful accomplishments, but who he is.  And more than watching him get his diplomas, as I watch all the pictures being taken, the smiles, and the congratulatory hand shakes, I’ll be thinking about how pumped I am to see what he does next.

I think that’s the pay off to knowing who you truly are.  Because like the Boy said, if you know that, the rest will work itself out.  He knows who he is and he can do anything he wants.  He’s not sure where he will end up working or if he’ll go back to school…but he knows who he is and is confident in that and because of that he’ll succeed at anything he sets his mind to! This Boy is going to do amazing things and I can’t wait to watch.

He doesn’t have a blog yet so until you can read that, you’ll just have to make do with 140 words.  Follow him at @simmie513

P.S. How is this bio longer than the post.  Next step in my growth…editing myself 😉

About this series: This is one of a series of guest posts in May that will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


3 thoughts on “What Are You Running To

  1. i am constantly telling my sister that you change so much as a person from 22-26. I think that’s when I really figured out who I was; after shaking off 4 crazy Kansas University years and then flailing around the “entry-level” world in a couple different states.

    Figuring out who you are is the best, it’s like exhaling when you weren’t even aware that you’d been holding your breath this entire time.

  2. Jack you are amazing young women, and I am blessed in knowing you. but I too have watched that amazing Boy grow from a baby the first day born till now.
    He is and is becoming a wonderful person and I have no doubt his journey of self discovery will continue. You are so lucky as is he to have found each other. Knowing who you are is not an easy task, and finding another person who fits you and gets you is wonderful.
    I am proud of the man the boy has become. I wish I was there for the cermony tomorrow, but it is not the end but the begining of a great jouney, i hope he lets me watch. You too I hope i stay part of you both. Carpe Diem..Boy and Girl

  3. Based on the clothing shown (none) and the cropping of the above photo, you and the Boy look like you might be naked which is a little more intimate than I was prepared for in clicking on jayewalking.com today. I’m just sayin’… 😉

    JK – Love you. Love the Boy. Love you and the Boy together. The end.

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