“Something's missing and I don't know what it is. No, and I don't know what it is. At all…”
– John Mayer
Yup, something’s missing from my life. And I don’t know what it is. I do know that I SHOULD feel fulfilled. I’m healthy. I’m married. I have a good job. And I have four beautiful children. But somehow, on most days (and even more so now that I’ve reached Mid-Life), I still feel a kind of emptiness inside. A void, if you will. And it scares me.
I know that it’s probably normal and just part of the modern human condition. The never-ending search for something more - a flatter television, a nicer car, a bigger house, etc. However, those things have never held much sway over me. I’ve always prided myself on not getting too caught up in materialistic desires. But, still the void manifests itself in other ways and begs, nay demands, to be filled.
Many years ago I used to eat to fill the void, but after a while, the eating (and the getting fat) just exacerbated the issue. So, I started running instead. Nothing fills my void quite like running. It’s trusty. I can do it every day, without fail, all year long. It’s something I can count on to make me feel "whole" again, regardless of my location or the weather outside. If I have sneakers and some shorts, I’m good to go.
In my experience, hiking is the ultimate void filler. Alone, in the woods, connecting with nature and pushing my body to the absolute limit. Finishing a good, long, hard hike feeling utterly exhausted, and yet somehow completely fulfilled at the same time. But, unfortunately, it’s not something I can do every day, or even every week for that matter. So running, and now ultra-running, is where I turn to for comfort.
Sadly, I am all too familiar with other, more dangerous, forms of void filling. Running, biking and speed hiking may be considered crazy pursuits by some, but at least they are slightly more healthy than other vices like drugs and alcohol.
Ultimately, I don’t know if these things I do actually fill the void, or just distract me from its presence. Either way, I’m thankful to have them in my life. Helping me deal with my void ...until eventually I become one with it.