I’ve Been Living On Auto-Pilot and I’m Changing My Ways (aka Why Running Makes Me Cry)

I woke up one cold January morning and it was like something clicked. When people say that the fog was lifted from their view, I finally get it, that’s what it was like.

The fog had burnt off and all I could see was the life I didn’t want to live. The life that has been a result of running on auto-pilot most my life. Other than my kids and husband – which were some of the most intentional choices I’ve made – I generally have lived my days reacting to circumstances rather than creating a life I truly wanted and envisioned, but never fully pursued.

I’ve learned a lot about myself from the Enneagram. As a ‘Type Nine’, the Peacemaker, my goal is to avoid conflict (usually by lying low and shutting the conflict out).
They say when type yourself correctly you will feel exposed, maybe even embarrassed. When I read bits on ‘complacency’ it was like the word became a swift, icy river and I was struggling to swim upstream to safety.
Safety, where I make all my life choices. Which isn’t always a bad thing, except when it is your only thing, in tandem with complacency. Surely this combo will ensure a life lived on auto-pilot mode.
Taking up running (for the first time ever, doing anything ‘athletic’ in my adult life!) has just highlighted some of the results from living in safe bounds on auto-pilot. With every step I struggle to run as I ‘train’ for my first 5K all I hear is the rhythm of my complacency thumping into the pavement. The pain I feel shooting into my shins, the cramps that burn my sides, the fact I have to push myself through each additional minute. I just shake my head, this is what I get for being so complacent about my health and never pushing my body because I was too afraid and formed an identity over the years of being ‘unathletic‘.
Perhaps the first step is recognizing where inaction, keeping ‘safe’, setting ‘rules‘, has crept its fingers to grip my habits and beliefs (turns out there’s a butt load of them). Then being self-aware in real-time through those moments I am being stubborn because I feel too pushed out of my comfort (which totally sucks because I just want to sleep in, eat waffles and enjoy my routine).
There is awkwardness, aching and insecurity in doing things I’ve never done. In doing things that are beyond the life I’ve made out of coziness, safety and defaulting to complacency when things made me uncomfortable. I’m certain I have to make myself do these things. I’m certain I can give up a good life for a great life. I’m also fairly certain that I have a rare medical condition in which my shins are indeed made of glass shards rendering them useless for prolonged physical exertion. I’ve yet to confirm this with a real doctor, but Google told me it’s pretty serious.


Either way, complacency has been an issue all my life, likely a very learned issue, and it’s time I take real actions to change it.  The discomforts of humility, disclosing my weaknesses, making mistakes, putting myself out there, running 5K despite my shins of glass shards – is nothing compared to the outcome of having a life lived on auto-pilot.


So friends, if you see me out running and I happen to be sobbing and bemoaning, it’s not because I’m embarrassed to tears about my shiny orthotic-looking ‘hey-my-grandma-has-the-same-pair!’ runners. I’m just having a mini personal encounter with my junk, carry on.

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