Sunday, February 20, 2011

You say hobby, I say lifeline

It can be hard when someone refers to running (specifically, your running) as a hobby.

Of course, it's a fair classification. It looks like a hobby. It sounds like a hobby. But it doesn't feel like a hobby. And, this doesn't matter much most of the time, because it simply doesn't matter what we call it - it's just running; it's what you do.

That is, until you find yourself in one of "those" conversations, perhaps around the kitchen table, where you assess the family priorities and assign such resources as time and money... and then, just then, your running gets referred to as a hobby.

Your ears prick up. Your eyes narrow sharply, and dart forward. Your head tilts slightly, almost imperceptibly as you think "Did I just hear what I thought I heard?"

Then, you hear it again. Hobby. There's no mistake this time. Your mind is abuzz as thoughts fly back and forth beneath your quizzical expression.
 - Well, that's not right. It is most certainly NOT a hobby.
 - Hobby. Of all the nerve. Pshaw.
 - Yes, but, think it through. Don't get defensive. What he means is, it isn't a necessity.
 - Yes it is.
 - No, it's not.
 - Yes, it is.
 - NO, it's not. It you were unable to run, your life would not be over. You would find a way through. You would find another challenge. Don't be a brat. It's not a necessity in the way that going to work and caring for your family is a necessity.
 - {Sigh}. Ok, fine. But it's really really really really really really close.

You breathe... then pause thoughtfully and say something like "Well, I see what you're saying - but it is really important to me. It's something I care a lot about. I'm willing to not do other things if it means I can spend that money on entering races instead."

Of course, that's the right thing to say... it's the only thing to say. It's also true.

As inaccurate as it may be to refer to running - your running - as a hobby, there's no harm done. Again, it certainly looks like a hobby.

But it doesn't feel like one. It feels... like life itself. 

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