Running Away Isn’t Always Wrong

Why turning your back is sometimes the only way to turn things around.

They say you can’t run away from your problems. That, try as you might, you’ll never outrun the skeletons in your closet. Ever since grade school, I’ve been told to grin and bear it; that when the going gets tough, the only option is to hunker down and face those issues head on. That’s how you’ll grow to be a strong, independent woman they said. Persistence and perseverance is what will ultimately help you overcome your fears, tackle your insecurities, and accomplish your goals.

To all of the teachers and parents, friends and advisors who told me to stick it out, dig in my heels, and never give up, I have just one thing that I’d like to say to you:

Running away is, by far, the best decision I’ve ever made.

It’s been exactly six weeks since I ran away from my life. Forty-two days since I sold most of my worldly possessions, packed a suitcase, and purchased a one-way plane ticket to a city three timezones away. To my parents, it seemed like a terrible idea. Another rash decision to add to my already overflowing list of poor life choices. They never voiced their disappointment out loud, but then again, they didn’t have to; it was written all over their faces. And, supportive though they tried to be, I know exactly what they were thinking when they dropped me at the airport departure gate:

“Running won’t heal your wounded heart. It won’t solve your career frustrations, or help you escape from the cloud of sadness that you live under. No matter how far or fast you manage to go, you’ll never be able to outrun yourself.”

And they were right, of course. My problems are still there. But what they failed to understand when they kissed me goodbye on that rain soaked curb, is that sometimes running isn’t about ignoring the issues or avoiding reality. Sometimes you need to run until your head is clear and you can think again. Until a fresh perspective is stronger than past experience, and decisions aren’t clouded by self-doubt.

Sometimes you need to run away so you have enough space to look back.

We all get the urge to run. And granted, sometimes it makes sense to stand your ground and take whatever life decides to throw your way.

But every once in a while it makes sense to surrender. To give yourself the time and space you need to refocus, reengage, and redefine your sense of self.

I ran away, not to forget who I was, but so I could remember who I was meant to be.

My only regret? Knowing that I could have taken the first steps sooner.

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