‘My Presence is a Present’: Making Time for Self
By Stephani Franklin
I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but life can be really hard. As a black woman in her thirties, unmarried, with no kids, I still find it difficult to simply take care of myself. Yes, you read that correctly. Unmarried, no kids, no real responsibility outside of myself and yet, I never seem to have enough time for ME.
We often cheat ourselves by focusing on others’ expectations instead of on lending space to our own thoughts and being.
My running journey began in my late twenties and, initially, it was just a new challenge for me to take on. (We Millennials are ambitious little things, aren’t we?) Later, running became a place of refuge for me. Most recently, though, it has become the one place in life where I hold all the control and have the opportunity to be in my own presence.
When you are out on a run, you are in control.
I loved a quote I read recently on Humans of New York from a woman who recently trained for the New York Marathon:
“As I get older, I feel like more and more of my life is outside my control. That’s why I started training for the marathon. I want to be in control of something. I can’t control current events. I can’t control politics. I can’t even control my personal relationships. But I can control my legs.”
This resonated with me so much. As much as we want to save the world and are often the “strong one” in our own situations, we never truly have control. I want to change this sort of thinking because the truth is, we will always have the option to choose ourselves.
We indulge ourselves in wine and disrespectfully expensive clothes and other materials, but we hardly gift ourselves with our own presence.
We’ve hardwired ourselves to believe that we must be in a distracted space to survive challenging conditions. Hard day at work? Buy an expensive bottle of wine (thanks Olivia Pope!). This plays out in running by folks saying, “My phone is only on 2 percent, I can’t run,” or “I don’t have headphones, so I definitely can’t run.”
Why do we cheat ourselves this way? When will we make time for ourselves?
These external distractions do not solve our problems, so imagine how giving yourself the time and space to unplug can help you prove to yourself that you can do more than you think. This is what can happen on a run.
“Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will.”
Overall, it’s important to think about those things we can control (like running) and how to limit the distractions of the things we cannot control during those precious moments we have to ourselves. It is in this place of solitude that you are able to access your clearest mind and heart so that you are in a position to give YOURSELF your very best.
Feel what you’re feeling.
See what you’re seeing.
Smell what you’re smelling.
Taste what you’re tasting.
Be present with yourself.
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