Running is a solitary endeavor, which may be part of the reason it’s so appealing to me. I’ve never liked team sports or group projects in school. I don’t like to rely on people and deal with their bullshit. I’m an introvert, which simply means that I gain energy and “recharge” by being by myself. Writing is another solitary pursuit that I’ve dabbled in over the years. It’s no wonder that running and writing are (slowly) becoming my healthy escapes.
Why does our culture devalue solitude? A little solitude isn’t going to hurt you :) Even on a day like today when a blizzard is forcing many people in the tri-state area to stay indoors, most people feel trapped. It’s understandable and I’m sure that cabin fever will hit at some point. But wouldn’t it be better if we just accepted that it’s a day of hibernation?! Read a book, watch a dvd, listen to music, play in the snow, daydream, get lost in your thoughts or do whatever you feel like…solitude is good for you!
Solitude is not the same as loneliness. It’s amazing how so many people confuse these two concepts. Enjoying solitude doesn’t mean that I don’t like people or want to be alone all the time. It’s just that I prefer being with one person or a small group of friends rather than going to a big party. It means that I don’t care for small talk and schmoozing. Anyone-introvert or extrovert-can get lonely and shouldn’t spend every moment alone. However, anyone can also benefit from some alone time. Introverts just need solitude a little more than extroverts. Most importantly, contemplative people are more likely to become writers, artists, healers, visionaries…so it’s time we got a little respect :)
Running is a process of carving out a little solitude with each training session. Even though I know this, I’m still struggling with incorporating running on a very regular basis in my life. My lazy/procrastinating side usually wins out whenever an excuse presents itself. What I have to remember is that although getting myself to the treadmill/trail is usually a pain, after a certain amount of time the endorphins will kick in. Then the benefits of solitude arise. Sometimes it’s the same with writing. Staring at a blank page is daunting. Training myself to run and write on a regular basis is the cure.