When Is Running Away the Right Thing?

running 2

Running away has a negative connotation. We’re often advised to face an issue, deal with it and go through it, rather than escape it. Enduring hard times and seeing things through promotes good character, yes? I believe in this and all the reasoning behind it, but naturally, at my core, I’m a bit of a runner. I’m a little too familiar with giving up and calling it quits.

There are a number of situations where that’s cost me. For example, I wish I never threw the towel in with learning instruments when I was younger, or sticking with languages at school. It was all too hard, so I made seemingly valid excuses and broke up with German and French, and cello, piano and flute. I regret that.

But is it always bad?

After being afraid to make any big decisions regarding my career, while ringing in 2013 I decided it was time to do something drastic. To push some doors, and see what was on the other side. Little did I know, more uncertainty and even more questions were waiting on the other side. As that career path is starting to look a little unlikely, a friend recently asked, “What are some other careers or jobs you could try, or other doors to push?”

Something interesting happened; I immediately thought of the countries I could relocate to, instead of other jobs I could try. I have had enough of working in jobs I am not passionate about, and I just want out. That restlessness is back, and I have an innate desire to run again.

Run away from London; the home of my indecisiveness, to anywhere; Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand, or even life in a backpack, to somewhere that I can start fresh and leave the unknown behind. I love new starts. Making new friends and a new life is hard, but I almost prefer it because it’s exciting. That is, until it isn’t anymore. Until its regular and familiar and the shine of “new” has worn off. When the noise of a new life dies down, I will still be left with myself and my lack of direction. Then what; do I run again?

Or it could be just the right thing, and what I need. To live in a completely foreign place because at the heart of it, I love traveling and experiencing the world. I love adventure. There’s also the desire to settle in a warm climate that is nearer to my native New Zealand, so I can see my family and friends more than once every two years. I am spoiled with so many choices. 

It seems I am more driven by where I am, as opposed to what I am doing. I like to keep moving both figuratively and physically. I’m afraid that if I stop, even just in my mind, everything will stop. And I’m really not okay with that. Currently everything feels stagnant. Nothing is really happening and I feel that I’m either about to get a massive tattoo or move to another country. Just to shake things up a bit.

When is it running, and when is it the healthy ending of a good chapter? When do you stay and see it out, and when do you put your hands up and say “I’ve given it my all, and now it’s time to call it quits”? I’ve been asking all these questions, but I’m realising I actually know the answer.

I’ve done this before; 5 years ago. When I moved to London it was the rightest choice I ever made, but I was in fact running. Initially I was running away from things, but I wasn’t avoiding facing them. As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are”. I wasn’t escaping myself or my problems, I’ve just been dealing with them on the other side of the world.

I was running into my future, rather than away from my past. I had a goal and a destination. I was choosing to do something that I knew would grow me and better me, despite the hard times. I was running into adventure and I was running in the direction God had led me.

Sometimes we’ve got to stick it out and see a stage through, and other times it is time for change. Don’t run from your past, but run into your future. There’s nothing wrong with running if it’s for the right reasons.

Me? I’ll be seeing this season of restlessness through, unless God tells me to run again.

Have you ever run, physically or emotionally? Do you quit things or see them through? 


10 thoughts on “When Is Running Away the Right Thing?

  1. Love it Mic :) The beautiful thing about reflection into the past is that it can often help us make decisions for the future (Not always of course) and it also makes us better people! Loving your blog. I used to be a quitter big time but have learnt through being at uni that quitting is a choice, not who you are – and you can choose to keep going! Such a ramble but thoughts often are : )

    Your writing gets more amazing each time I read :) And the topics are only getting richer :) X

  2. Thanks my love, I really appreciate that! So proud of you for completing university! Thanks for reading and for the encouragement xx

  3. I’m starting to experience a period of restlessness right now, and have been wondering what exactly I need to combat it… these were just the words I needed.

    Love the new look of your blog, too! Beautiful! :)

  4. I’m very stubborn and as I look back I can see I’ve stayed in certain situations much longer that was was good for me. Bad relationships, jobs or school situations that made me physically ill. I should have realised and walked away much sooner. But just like you I wish I would have stuck with my piano lessons as a child, and my dance classes. Perhaps wisdom is knowing when to leave and when to stay?

    p.s. I like your new blog design!

    • Oh gosh, I know what you mean! It’s very true – we need wisdom on when to stay and when to go.

      And thanks! So do I :)

  5. It’s scary how closely your train of thought on “running” mirrors my own, and I think I’ve come to just about the same conclusions. Currently I’m trying to decide if I should join the Peace Corps, or if I should just move to another city and start over. My realization is I should either do it, or don’t do it, and stop talking about it. Neither is the wrong choice as long as something actually happens.

    • My realization is I should either do it, or don’t do it, and stop talking about it. Neither is the wrong choice as long as something actually happens.

      I have exactly the same attitude to these types of things! I hope you choose something soon and love whatever you end up doing :) thanks for reading.

  6. It was scary yet amazing how much I was able to relate with your post. I felt as if I was reading my own thoughts, feelings and experiences. Two years ago I moved to the states in search of a new life. Looking back I think I was running away from myself,or trying anyways. I thought I could leave behind who I was, my self demeaning thoughts, my excuses, my mistakes and just start over as a new person…. Imagine my shock when I realized I was still with myself. Those 2 years were amazing, truly, but I’m happy to be back home. I’m glad I ran, even if I sort of failed at it and it costed me many things; it made me learn so much about life and especially me. Realizing you cant leave yourself behind ever sort of changed my context for everything. Anyways, thank you. I sometimes feel the need to run again and then make myself wrong for it, reading your post was just what I needed, THANK YOU.

  7. I realize I’m commenting on a year old post but I happened to come across this and it resonates so closely with where I’m at right now. I recently quit my job because, although I’m only 20 and it was a solid job for my age, I carry a fear of getting stuck in a career I’m not passionate about, out of convenience. I took a road trip up to Idaho to stay with my brothers for a while and now I’m at a loss for where to go next. At first I loved it here but now I’m experiencing the same restlessness I was at home and that you speak of. I think I placed a large part of my identity in the success of my job, even though I didn’t enjoy it. Anyways, I just want you to know I appreciate your words, it’s comforting to know that it’s okay to feel restless. Sometimes I feel like the restless indicates that I’m ungrateful for my life, which I’m really not. So, thank you. Thank you for being honest and writing this post. I hope you’ve been able to find fulfillment wherever you’re at now :) sorry for the long comment!

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