Monday, September 11, 2006

Alone in a Crowd

I'm just never going to be the sort of girl who sits around waiting for someone to do things with. I've had a fantastic weekend and all, largely, on my own.

As ever, being on my own gave me lots of time to think a couple of things through. I sometimes wish that I had some sort of system set up where my thought process got blogged automatically, as sometimes I think I've had a fantastic insight into my life, or come up with a wonderful phrase, and then by the time I get to a computer the moment's gone. On the other hand, most of what comes out of my brain would probably be unreadable garbage, so maybe it's good that you get the edited version.

I spent quite a while thinking about the things that are important to me, and what I enjoy. One thing that struck me that I'd never really thought of before is the similarity between watching rugby and running, and possibly the heart of the reason why they both appeal to me. I'd never really connected them before, but suddenly I saw it.

Much as I love travelling around on my own, doing my own thing, I sometimes like to have a sense of purpose, to justify my solo exploring. So when I went to America to study I travelled around alone at weekends because I was there and wanted to make the most of the experience. When I went to Italy for a week, it was because I had a university interview, not because I fancied a holiday. As time has gone on I have started to go on more and more trips just because I feel like it, but sometimes I do still like to feel like I have a purpose for my trip. It takes away a bit of the self consciousness sometimes. I've travelled alone to see a match because I wanted to see it, not because I have no friends and nothing better to do. Even though people seeing me don't necessarily know that, and I shouldn't need to justify spending a day or a week travelling round on my own, it makes me feel a little better that I can.

Now, trips to Wakefield and St Helens may not be exotic, but still, they encourage me to go out and be part of a group, have some sort of purpose, while still being alone. I can sit in the middle of a 70,000 crowd (not at Wakefield or St Helens by the way, but elsewhere) and feel connected with everyone else, but still with a degree of independence. I can blend into a group of Wigan fans in a bar, and I can sing along with the songs. I've always liked rugby for the way it lets me feel connected with people I've never met before (and may never meet again), while still giving me time for myself.

It was only yesterday though that I realised that running appeals to me in exactly the same way. I can stand alone at the start of the race without being isolated, because I know that there are plenty of other runners there. United in a single purpose, with similar goals and hopes and fears. We will all ride a similar wave of emotions and be united in a common experience, and I don't need someone holding my hand to be able to join in with them. I'm there, in my own right, and I'm participating.

In my increasingly anti-social life (life's too short to spend time with people I don't like just because I feel like I should have company!), it's nice to sometimes immerse myself in a wave of human emotion, whether it's running or rugby.


Blogger kathrynoh said...

I think it would really annoy me having a running companion and having to keep pace with them.

12:15 AM  

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