Back in the U.S. of A for almost a week now and I’m still not finding myself any closer to closing the distance I feel between myself and the world. I told myself when I left for this trip that I would do everything I could to be fully present in the experience, appreciating every minute of Santiago, Cien Fuegos, Dajabon and Majagual. And yet I struggled nearly every day, feeling as if I was not actually in any of those places but watching a documentary about it, making it less real and frankly easier to deal with emotionally.
After getting back from a ridiculous day of travel filled with a comedy of errors last Friday, I felt like a walking zombie of sorts, meandering around campus consumed by my thoughts. I walked up and down the mall, tired yet extremely antsy from sitting all day after being in constant motion for almost two weeks. More than anything however, I wanted to run, because even if it’s on a treadmill, when I run I feel like I’m getting somewhere, my body coming alive as I push it beyond the threshold of comfort.
I’ve found running to be my outlet for almost anything thats troubling me, and I happened to see a New Balance Ad the other day that stated it perfectly. “Sometimes we run not to get away from the world, but to clear our heads of it.” Ever since getting back last Friday I’ve been struggling to process all the things we saw on our trip. I am constantly reminded of the people, their live, and the things they can’t run from like I so wanted to do.
I’ve realized now however that it wasn’t that I wanted to run FROM the Dominican Republic, no, if they had this much impact on me in just a few days I can’t imagine the incredible lessons I could learn in spending even more time with them. Instead, I run because i want to clear my head and go beyond the initial emotions I’m feeling. I want to move beyond how uncomfortable I am with the realities of what I saw and start problem solving, finding ways to act.
So yes, I’ll admit that my running may be an obsession. But even though I’m not going anywhere on the treadmill, I can promise you that my mind is anything but stagnant.