While out for a run today, I was reminded of all the times I tell my kids to turn off their electronics and just appreciate what is around them. Well, it took me over 3 frustrated miles of my run to truly learn that lesson.
I woke this morning to find that the humidity that has blanketed the Midwest this summer had finally lifted, the sun was shining and I was excited to go for a run where I could actually breath fresh air instead of sucking in hot humid air. I leashed up my favorite running buddy (who was more excited than I was) and then took 5 more minutes gathering all my “stuff”. This “stuff” included my iPhone with headphones and my Garmin watch, because I need to know exactly how far I’ve run and how fast and how many calories, etc. It actually tells me everything except what time it is!!
I start out on my run with my music playing, my watch tracking my every footfall, and my dog panting excitedly next to me. All is well. It is truly the beautiful morning I’ve been waiting for. One song down and suddenly the next song is a repeat of the first song. That’s strange. No problem. Stop the watch, take out my iPhone from my running pouch, press forward to the next song, put my iPhone back in it’s pouch, start my watch back up and off I go. Run through one more song and the next song repeats again – ok, now I’m frustrated. I go through the same routine of stopping the watch, changing the song and starting the watch. Even my dog Lucy is getting frustrated.
As I start running again, my earpiece is slipping out of my ear. No big deal, I give it a tap to put it back. Oh wait, while I did that the dog leash brushed the touch screen on my watch and now I’m no longer watching all the numbers that I think I need to. I touch the watch a few more times and it’s fixed. This cycle of fixing of my iPhone, headphones and watch continues until I can’t take it anymore! I’m only 2 miles from home and I decide I’m going without my music or my watch. I pull out my headphones, stop my watch and just run. Sounds crazy but when you are someone like me and don’t like to hear your own panting, this is quite a change.
I start running, feeling somewhat naked, listening to my dog’s panting. It’s a somewhat soothing sound when interspersed with the chirping birds. I find that without worrying about my music and charting each footstep I actually can think and run. I start to think about my day and have clarity in thinking about what I want to do and how to accomplish it. I actually feel less overwhelmed as I remember things I’ve been wanting to do and add them to my list of things to accomplish this day. This may stress some people out, but for me, having this quiet time to think and plan without anyone asking me anything, or whining at me, is relaxing.
Before I knew it I was home. I thought being “unplugged” for the remainder of my run would be long and tedious, but I found it relaxing and calming. That’s when I thought of all the times we tell our children to turn off their electronics and just “be.” They usually don’t appreciate this instruction, but now that I’ve actually practiced what I preach, I’m going to make sure we do this more in our lives. My hope is that they will take a deep breath away when they are away from all the gadgets, just like I did today.