“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” -Marcus Aurelius

(Image source: Hubble)

I started my run the other day well before sunrise. I drove to a park outside the city limits of Atlanta to get a run in on flat surfaces to get ready for my next race. The park’s path is pea gravel and it isn’t lit by any lights or anything. It made me think about investing in a headlamp because I’m sure I’ll need it a good bit coming up. But I had to just go without any light and wait for the sun to rise.

It was very slow going at first to get my eyes adjusted to the darkness and so I wouldn’t make any false steps. Once I settled into my run, I realized I had a show of stars above me. It was a wonderful moment of light footsteps, easy breathes and distant worlds to ponder.

I noticed a bright orange glow and figured it to be Mars as I gazed. I imagined what Earth would look like from there. Probably just as tiny as it looked to me in that moment. Then all of the sudden my next thought was…

Nothing really matters.

We are absolutely tiny in the universe. We are just a single grain of sand on a beach. If you stop to think about it, nothing really matters compared to how expansive and infinite everything is. Nothing!

So why do we worry? And why do we fear?

We, you and I, are not here long at all. In relative terms, we are alive just a few seconds of the life of the universe. Why spend time doing something you don’t like doing? Why hesitate on chasing your dreams that you’ve been thinking about for years? Why care about what others think? Why not do the impossible? Why fear failure?

Why are we here, but to live our own adventure?

7 thoughts on “Why?

  1. Dan

    I feel like a lot of people’s lives are spent vacillating nervously between the answers to questions like these. Why DO we do things we don’t enjoy if our time is so brief? Why bother with things like mortgage payments and saving for retirement when we should be chasing big, impossible dreams?

    I definitely WANT to go out and do great things, but I find it hard to do those without an orderly, structured life. It’s a bit of this, and a bit of that. I can’t do great things every day (though some might ask, why not? What’s holding me back?). Maybe it’s because if I do great things every day, they cease to be great. Maybe “greatness” lies in rarity, infrequency. Perhaps living is all about measured intakes of greatness with pauses of ordinariness to keep us interested.

    Why does something as simple and primeval as running inspire such high-minded sojourns into philosophy?

  2. runningbostonandbeyond

    It’s a tricky balance for sure, but instead of seeing that nothing matters, I see it that everything matters. I would drive myself nuts if I dwell on that, so some days are Boston Marathon running days, some are best spent under a blanket with a book or watching TV. Some days the house work gets ditched to take the kids to the beach. If you’re truly enjoying yourself and doing what is in your heart, then you’re probably going to be pretty happy at the end of the story. And as someone who recently turned 40, I often think it’s “too late” to go back to school to get into another industry…. it IS nice to be reminded to go for your dreams…. Thanks for that reminder.

  3. Girl Runs Wild

    I think this is so cool! I had very similar thoughts and feelings when I was driving up to Inverness before my race on Sunday. It’s a three hour drive through the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and the timeless mountains made me feel so insignificant, temporary and minuscule, in the best possible way. I found it so liberating to feel that way!

  4. Pandora Viltis

    I like the reminder that we should spend life doing things we love. The whole reminder that we’re just short-lived specks in the universe sort of freaks me out though. I run to forget that shit. 😉

  5. sueslaght

    Joey as you may know this is my philosophy of life. Live big every minute, do what you love. Tomorrow may not come so just in case make sure you were doing what makes you happy.


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