“What has happened to my friend??”

That was my friend’s quip on the phone last week. I had just mentioned my 6.5 mile run at 5am.

The other day I got an email from another friend. In the midst of other topics she wrote “all you do now is run!” – which was clearly a reference to the running posts that I put on my Facebook page.

I got another email from a friend who included the following, “Hey I drove by you while you were speed walking on the side of the road the other day.” When I saw her a few days later, I pointed out that what she was probably witnessing was my actual running pace….but I wasn’t sure.

My mom is visiting this week while my husband is in New Zealand. Her comment when she heard my alarm go off on Monday morning at 5am – “Don’t go running – just go back to sleep.”

It’s been eye opening to see others’ reactions to this whole running thing. Some of my friends are very supportive – cause they are runners themselves. They provide encouragement and tips.

There are also the friends who are supportive non-runners. They are the ones who ask me about running and often say things like “Wow – I wish I could do that. I always wanted to run…but I don’t think so.”

And then there’s the mixed reviews – they are those whose comments reflect a sort of incredulous amazement as in – why would anyone do that?  For example, I know my mom is glad I’m taking care of myself – but when it means the alarm wakes her – then running isn’t such a great idea. As for my other friends comments – I don’t know whether they are upset or just don’t know what to say. Perhaps they are afraid I will try to convert them to the world of running.

Anytime we discover that a friend has taken up a new hobby or interest – I think we compare ourselves to them. “Wow – Joan has taken up knitting – is that something I would do? Could I do it? Why would anyone knit?”  “Jeez, Bill is taking stand up comedy classes, I wonder if I should sign up too?”

Our mental assessment of what they are doing usually leads us to some conclusions about our own interests, our own limits, and even our own fears about ourselves. Sometimes that conclusion is a snap reaction (“Dear Lord why would Shelly even think about doing that….”).

But sometimes we push the idea around for a little bit – as if it were a small amount of play-dough that we’re working with. Does it start to form a recognizable shape? Or is it something we should just flatten and forget about?

But the thing to remember is that often the new things our friends tackle are the ones they’ve just chosen for them. They aren’t doing it for your benefit or even for you to join them. I’m not running for anyone but me. I tossed the idea around for a long while….and it started to take shape in a way that made sense to me. And it’s okay if it doesn’t make sense to you.

Just find what it is that speaks to you, your talents, and what you want to spend your time doing.

So what is it that YOU want to do today – regardless of how others view you?



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