Dave Griffin on Running – The Carroll Count Time – Sunday, July 8, 2012
My wife and I just returned from a week in Lewes, Delaware, a small beach town with a unique history and quiet water.
Before we left, I told a friend that I really needed to get away. For some reason, the normal challenges have seemed harder lately.
I’m not really sure what’s changed. Work is the same, the unique blessing of security combined with the burden of needing to support the things I’m responsible for. All in all, I’m more fortunate than most, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard sometimes.
Recently, the challenges seem to come one after another, and I looked forward to stepping away from all of that, if only for nine days.
When I’m on vacation, life isn’t scripted. I let days lead where they may, never worrying much about time. The only thing normal about my routine is running.
But even my runs weren’t the same. I never found the normal spark of energy. It seems without the stress of work there’s nothing to ignite it, no steam to blow off, and my runs are more sedate.
I found myself looking for places to stop and explore. I ran to the Cape Henlopen State Park, where a bike trail circles drifting dunes. There’s a spot where you can look out over the ocean, and I’d watch dolphins swimming up the shoreline. There must have been dozens, all playfully swimming, and I wondered what it would be like to be one of them.
Cape Henlopen was a military base in the middle of the twentieth century, until long range missiles made the fort obsolete. I stopped to investigate the abandoned bunkers, and tried to imagine what I would have seen there in the 1940s.
Life is so different now. We have luxuries designed to simplify our life, but our lives aren’t simple. We live in abundance, and yet we wrestle with desire. We take vacations to flee from things that are inescapable.
Before I finished each run, I’d go to the end of a deserted fishing pier and look passed the lighthouses in the Delaware Bay. Life seems different when viewed from a new observation point.
This world is a beautiful place. Our life here, in no small measure, will be as good as we decide it will be.
You can’t escape your obligations. You can run away, but guilt and new responsibility will soon find you.
So do what you must and do it well. Then, every day, spend time doing something deeply personal. It may not change your life, but it will change your perspective about it.
The heat was excessive on the Monday I returned to work, but I still took my normal lunchtime run. It helps me know that there will always be time that’s simply mine. And, when life gets hard, it leads me to a new observation point.