I’m not exactly sure when I started to run, or more importantly, when I came to the conclusion that running was actually somewhat enjoyable. If you told 315 lb. Jason from Freshmen year in college that I would actually love to run, I would’ve laughed it off while eating a large three-topping pizza (all vegetables of course…) in my dorm room on a Friday night (this actually happened once. I’ve changed, I swear).
But outside of the physical benefits of going on medium-ranged runs/walks, it’s also one of the most important habits that I have in regards to my career path. For some odd reason, so much of my thought process happens when I’m running. I think about the stories I want to tell, the characters I want to show and reveal, and different realms and worlds I want to explore through my work. It’s not like I can’t do this in other places, but for some reason, running has been my go to thing when I need to think. That’s probably why I’m so addicted to it (or so I think).
Yesterday, I went for a run through the neighborhoods of Northbrook, the epitome of rich white suburbia, following my usual path of three miles beginning on major streets and intersections and ending through a beautiful road of humble but also well-groomed homes for well-groomed families. And if you were in the area around 7 p.m. last night, you would know that it started to rain, and not just rain like a light drizzle, but a heavy downfall that would quickly send people to take shelter.
I don’t know if this is just an oddity of mine, but I find it incredibly interesting that our first reaction to rain is to run away from it. Yes, I understand the concerns of getting wet and the increase likelihood of being sick, but when it’s 85 degrees outside, that’s probably not happening. But regardless, people run away from it. I used to be one of them, until I spent a year in Palau, where rain was just as common as sunshine, and there was nothing to fear about getting wet, but almost like a refreshing reminder that change is part of our world.
As I continued my steady pace, which eluded to my clothes getting drenched, I found it… necessary. It was something that I needed. I don’t know, and nor should I try to explain why in this blog because it’s becoming border-line pretentious. But as I continued to my usual path, it felt like a reminder that rain, or whatever you want to replace rain with, is all part of an equation that results in a better and more fulfilling life.
I think rain is the perfect analogy for things that we as humans don’t like to deal with. Replace rain with anything that is annoying, agitating, uncomfortable, unnecessary. I think we all have different things or situations that can fit into this mold, and it’ll be different for all of us because we all have different paths and journeys, but regardless, we have the occasional downpour where we wish it’d just go away.
Unless you haven’t taken sixth grade science, we all know how important rain is, especially those experiencing a historic drought in California. It’s not a luxury. It’s not a privilege. It’s a need. It’s problematic if you don’t receive it. Nature relies on it, almost as much as sunshine, and when it comes, you get some of the most beautiful and luscious landscapes imaginable. In my opinion, the most beautiful places in the world receive a liberal amount of rainfall, and there’s no coincidence in that.
And yet, when it falls, we run away.
When I think about rain, I’m always reminded of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, when Owen Wilson’s character wants to explore Paris as it rains, though his wife and mother-in-law easily disregard that idea quickly, running under their coat covers and straight to the car. The world is different when it rains, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as beautiful.
Recently, I was given an incredible honor, validating my year’s work, energy, and stress. I put my financial stability, relationships, and my potential future at risk for following something that I loved and wanted to pursue. And though it’s nothing huge, it did show me that I’m not wasting my time. And though a year is a small amount of time when looked at far away, it’s forever when you’re currently living it. So much stress, so much difficulty, and for something that’s on a piece of paper (or a pdf).
A little bit rain can produce so much, and the more you appreciate it, observe it, and not run away from it but wonder and reflect on it, the more you’ll take away from it.
Through the good, comes the disappoint, and not getting a job/gig is always a disappointing experience, but if there’s anything that I would tell anyone that wants to follow something they love, the better damn get comfortable with hearing those “Nos”. It’s another one that will just join the large pile that’s been moved to the side, and though it might look or feel dark, grey, and cloudy, it’s producing something that you’re unable to see, but trust me, it’ll come.
Like everything we do in life, it’s all comparable to the marathon analogy, and how “it’s not about how fast you go or how quickly you finish it, but about perseverance and never quitting.” It’s so cliche, but it’s true. Everything in life is like a marathon, especially when you want a life of creating, producing, and doing. It’s one of the hardest things to do, and takes forever to potentially get to somewhere short of what you wanted. Those so much risk involved, so many obstacles and hurdles, and it will impact you in all aspects, mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally. It’s brutal.
But just like any form of long-distance running, it’s about overcoming those small moments where you want to quit. What I always have to tell myself is that if I quit and turn around now, it’ll take just as much effort and energy to get back to where I started. Why not just keep going? It’ll be worth it.
Enjoy the rain. Enjoy the gloom. Enjoy the unexpected occurrences in life. It’s okay to get drenched by the heaviness and darkness of life and of the world. It’s part of the human experience. But always remember there’s good to come if you keep going and are patient.
Unless it thunderstorms, then you need to get the hell out of there.