I laced up my long forgotten running shoes, eager to be under the watchful stars and golden moon. I walked up my street, patiently untangling my earphones, fully immersed in my fears. Earlier today my college roommate had contacted me. We discussed what we each should bring for the dorm room, where we should sit at the football games, and what classes to sign up for. After our conversation had ended, it full on hit me. Wow, I was going to college. In three weeks. Wow. I’m not ready to give up my childhood.
I had reached the corner of my new street by now, with a pair of untangled earphones. I took a deep breath, looked up at the sky, and just listened to the sounds of the night; the sprinklers hitting the grass, the crickets chirping, and the teenagers giggling. I inserted the earphones and turned and gazed towards my destination: darkness. Without looking I pressed play on my iPod and my ears filled of the low resounding voices of Buddhist monks chatting. Fate had its way of comforting me. I paused and returned to that tiny room in that 550 year old monastery in the middle of the Himalayas, full of burning things and the continual, repetitive chants.
Adrenaline slowly crept into every muscle in my body, and I was off. Subconsciously I made a deal with myself that I would run as long as the monks chanted….in that moment the fact that that chant was 40 minutes long, completely escaped me. The monks repeating over and over again those prayers that I couldn’t understand regulated my breathing and my pace and I no longer thought of my body. I turned all thoughts inward, as I ran past my old street, old elementary school, old everything. Everywhere I looked connected to a childhood memory. I couldn’t escape it. I was surrounded.
After another few minutes, I darted past Anne’s old street. Immediately I relived the reunion we had yesterday. Anne and I were pretty much sisters from 1st till 6th grade… I spent more time at the Barlow’s house than I did my own. I was always included in their family adventures and sincerely felt like a Barlow. Much of who I am today came from those happy early years. Yesterday, I got out of the car, looked up and saw Anne. She was much changed from the last time I had seen her, but still she leaped down the steps and we embraced. Then there we were, back in 5th grade, just as if these 7 years had not passed. We discussed books, our one true connection, and compared story after story of our high school years.
Ah, half of the song had gone by, and I was still holding true to the contract. My sides started burning and I began to regret having popcorn for dinner, once again. These memories were almost as painful as the physical pain of running. I was really going to miss my past….
But all of the sudden some new feeling seized me, and I sped up to try and control it. It was utter excitement. I reached up and pulled the elastic out of my hair, letting the tangled mass I call hair free. The sensation of every hair on my head swaying side to side in unison only accelerated my excitement. I embraced my old memories, I let them be a part of me, I let them shape me, and then I let go. I couldn’t cling on to these forever, if I did I would miss out on all the new memories that I could be making. I was excited to start college. I was actually excited to move to Utah County, and believe me I NEVER thought that day would come.
Running is like a drug to me. I know people think runners are crazy, and I even have to agree….but that magical feeling when the sound of your feet hitting the pavement, echoes the beating of your heart, and there is peace and constancy… well it’s worth it. When you reach that moment everything becomes clear and all your problems go away, and you remember and live for the little things, like running with your hair down, or watching 6 different Jane Austen movies.
Oh no, here come those side aches again…. Ah man, living life to the fullest sure can be exhausting.