Today’s Run: Friends, Dogs & Family

This is the first post in a new series I’m calling “today’s run.” My mind is often at its most active when I’m out on a run. And I’d like to share some of those thoughts with the world.

Today’s run took longer to develop than it should have. Between work, and my relentless insistence on shoving food down my throat, I managed to put it off until 4pm.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter when you run. It just matters that you ran. Today was one of those days.

I set out for an 8-mile trail run in my backyard, the JRPS trails. Buttermilk, Northbank, Belle Isle… all the usuals. And although I originally set out alone, I found myself sharing the trails with many different faces: some familiar faces, some strangers and some hairy ones with long tongues and real sloppy kisses.

I bumped into my buddy Nate who I haven’t seen in a while. Nate’s training for one of those crazy ultras I used to be so gung-ho about. Good for you, buddy. It was great catching up.

Then a few canine friends stopped to say hello. Some just gave me the quick snif’n’go (which I totally understand when Mom’s got you on a short leash). Others stopped for a legit petting from head to rear. And you better believe I gave them every last bit of what they were looking for.

But this one sweet pup… He was off his leash. Mom was pretty laid back. So he decided he’d run with me for a few hundred feet. I’m awful with naming dog breeds, but just trust me, this guy had sweet puppy face written all over him. I ran the rest of my run with his dirty paw prints on my shirt.

And then I saw a few moms… with strollers… and little ones inside. I don’t have a kid of my own, but I still smile at almost every little kid I see.

Then I saw my buddy Tyler at the end of my run. He just finished up a mountain bike ride. He’s going through some career stuff, just moved into a new apartment… the cycle of life. Stuff we all deal with at some point or another, but it was nice to hear his personal story.

All of these encounters got me thinking about family. A wife. A kid or two. A dog. A decent-sized house in a friendly neighborhood. The ups & downs of parenting…

I want all of that stuff. Not the same way I want to complete an Ironman, or I want a new computer. But that’s where I see myself in the future. Near future? Distant future? Who knows? But I want that.

As some of you know from my Facebook status updates, I watch The Bachelor on ABC. It’s an awful show on so many levels, and I know it’s 100% entertainment, heavily staged, yada yada yada. I get it. But it’s one of my few guilty pleasures, and I find it extremely entertaining. So bear with me for a sec.

In thinking about all this family stuff, I’m going to cite a line that I’ve heard many times on The Bachelor.

That’s always been my number 1 goal in life… to have a family.

I always thought that was just a line. Something they said for the camera, or to convince the guy to pick them. Who knows if they really meant it or not—or what it even means to them. But after today, I started to think if there might be some truth in that.

I’ve been guilty for almost my entire adult life of putting work ahead of my social life (which includes relationships). I’ve set many goals over the past 10 years, and I’ve accomplished almost every one I’ve set. I’ve done some really awesome things.

Maybe I should think of a relationship—and eventually, a family—in more of the way I think of the other goals I set for myself. I don’t want to force something that’s not there. And I don’t want to put a deadline on it (because that could force me into something I’m not ready for).

Over the past 3 years, I’ve tried to make a relationship more of a priority. And the fact that I’m single right now doesn’t necessarily mean I haven’t done that. There could be any number of other reasons why I’m still single, none of which are bad, or anyone’s fault. It’s just how it is.

This is really just a reminder for myself. A reminder that I do want a family, a dog, a house & some kids. And that just like all the other goals I have in life, they won’t just appear before my eyes. They take dedication, timing, sacrifice, money, and a host of other things.