This Is Why I Really Run and Write Every Day
‘Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job, and you might not like the job it invents.’
Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.
Like, eating the couch. Or destroying your life.
Understanding this has taken me a long time and many psychotherapy sessions. But it does seem to be the truth: when I am not actively creating something — miles on my NikeRun+ iPhone app or sentences in a Scrivener doc — I am actively destroying something (myself, my relationships, my health, or peace of mind). It’s either one or the other. Running and writing is not just a recipe for a contented and fulfilled life; it’s a survival mechanism. A way to keep my and everyone else’s sanity around me intact.
It’s weird. But ever since I was a little kid, I felt my mind looked like a reservoir behind a dam. The water accumulates, and so does the pressure, and if I don’t find a way to release that pressure, the dam will explode sooner or later. And believe me — it’s not pretty.
So far, in my 25 years on this planet, the dam exploded in a variety of ways: I broke off meaningful relationships with friends, girlfriends, and family members; I’ve lost tens of thousands of dollars of my own and other people’s money on reckless bets; I’ve lost 30KG in three months; I’ve hurt people; I’ve drunk and drugged myself to oblivion; I’ve gained 30KG in six months; I’ve smashed kitchen plates; I’ve been arrested and spent time in a Russian jail; and, on several occasions, I even barely escaped death.
Think of my mind as a nuclear bomb that heats up whenever it’s not taken care of. (Like Chornobyl.) One of the ways to cool down all that stored uranium and avoid catastrophe is through monotonous activities that allow one to forget about the ego for a while. Many could work — and I’ve tried a lot: from drugs to hiking to jumping in cold rivers. But running and writing seem to be the easiest to incorporate into the realities of our modern-day existence. They are so easy and cheap to do. All you need is an hour or two a day, a pair of legs, and a pen with paper.