Running Free

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a runner. While I don’t run as frequently as I used to, I still like to get outside and put in some miles. It holds a special place in my heart.

There’s a lot to enjoy: the sunshine on your skin, the wind through your hair, the warmth of being outside, the smiles from the other people out doing the same as you.

If I had to pick out a favorite thing, though, it’s the mindlessness of it all.

Mindlessness probably isn’t the right word.

Running doesn’t require a whole lot of thought. Sure, you have to focus on some things: make sure your breathing is steady, watch out of minor elevation changes so you don’t trip, check for cars at the crosswalk. Normal things. For me, though, it’s a time of general silence.

I don’t often run with headphones but when I’m at my desk – I’m always listening to music. The only time I’m in my office not listening to music is when I’m making music. I listen to music when I’m drawing pictures or painting. I’m almost always actively engaged in something and there’s almost always music in the background.

There’s not a lot of downtime, except when I run. To be fair, it’s not just running. Hiking, biking, skating, any-other-ing… these can all serve the same purpose. It’s a time to recharge, to think through problems. Some of my best solutions to work problems have come while I was out running. Some of my best art has come after a run.

But, that’s not really the point.

In this drawing, I feel like my character is running away. Running free. Getting away, never looking back, and happy about it.

This is not the same as my running.

My runs are constrained, confined, always with an end. Always with purpose. There’s a sense of freedom, sure. I can continue running for as long as my legs will carry me but I always have to come back to my desk. I have to return to work, return to the grind.

Return to the responsibility.

That’s the core of being an adult, a real adult anyways. It’s understanding that your freedom of choice results in having responsibilities and those responsibilities may result in feeling like you’ve lost some of your freedom. These are the tradeoffs we make in life.

In my wildest, most free dreams, I think about leaving my day job. To stop slaving away at my desk to line the pockets of executives and shareholders. I dream of being a musician and artist full time and the satisfaction that would come from that. Set my own hours. Do whatever I want! But, you know what else I think about?


Groceries. School supplies. Mortgage. Utilities. Smartphone. Clothing. Future college expenses. Retirement. Netflix. Medical. Dental. Transportation. Hulu. Vet expenses. Everything, big and small, essential and non-essential, comes down to one fundamental fact: it costs money.

Being truly free would mean having a willingness to give up having these things. It would mean giving up that stability not just for me, but for my family too. It would mean being the kind of person that doesn’t take responsibility for my past actions and decisions, all of which have led me to this point.

Sometimes we adults blow of steam talking about these things. All the ways we could leave our responsibilities behind and just be free. It feels good to say it. It feels good to think it. But, in the end, most of us choose responsibility and being an adult.

We’re happy to run free for a little bit and then we choose to run right back home.


Well, family. Partners that love you and need you to love them back. Partners that stuck with you through the hard times, even when they didn’t have to. Children that didn’t ask to be born. Children that need role models to show them what being an adult is all about. Children who just need you to love them and keep them safe.

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