Monday, 1 May 2017

Running to stop the voices!

Life is busy for everyone.  I don't necessarily think that my life is any busier than the next parent who works full time.  But I can't help but feel that it is a little noisier.

I have 5 children, admittedly only 4 live at home now, but nature abhors a vacuum so I haven't noticed any more space at home or any decrease in the decibels.  At work I am a teacher.  All day, every day, (or so it sometimes seems) people are talking to me.  Or if they are not talking to me they are talking all around me, even during silent reading there will be someone talking.  Often this babble, that I am doing my best to tune out, is interrupted by a call of 'Mum' or 'Miss' (and I've been called these interchangeably at home and school) and I am drawn back in trying to replay what has been said in order to provide a relatively lucid response.

And, don't get me wrong, I do like talking to people.  I love the fact that we sit around the kitchen table to eat together at least once a day and have a good catch up about what is going on in everyone's life.  I love it when people pop in to my lab at school on the pretext of discussing a pupil's progress and then we spend the next 15 minutes chatting about this and that.  I love the bizarre conversations I have with random runners during races, safe in the knowledge that we will probably never see each other again, only to end up bumping into each other at subsequent races and becoming good friends.  When your first ever conversation has been about chaffing bits then you know you can talk about just about anything with that person, so long as you don't mention politics or religion!

But quiet is what I crave.  Not silence, but an absence of people talking at and to me and expecting me to... do something... say something.  It is exhausting.

And this, I believe, is why I run!  If I go to the loo you can bet that the minute I unzip my jeans someone will knock on the door wanting to know where x, y or z is 'hidden!'  But if I head out on a run then I am on my own.  If I want to listen to music I can, I even listen to a lot of audio books - that's a different kind of voice, nothing is expected of me and I can just let it wash over me.  At races or group runs with friends I can choose to chat away (and I often do) but I can also run on my own, changing my pace to engage or disengage in a conversation.  Yesterday I ran most of the second half of the marathon on my own.  Not really thinking about anything, just letting my brain switch off from having to deal with all the voices.

I'd like to be able to say I have some of my best ideas while running, but if I do I have forgotten them by the time I take my trainers off.  What I do get, or so I like to think, is the headspace that some people get from meditation and yoga.  Maybe I am deluding myself but you can be sure that the minute I contort myself into some complicated yoga position someone will appear with a demand to know where their reading record is or need help to untangle a necklace - hardly conducive to relaxation!

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