Working from home as I have done for the past near decade can be very productive. If I am in serious work mode, hours fly by seemingly unnoticed.
People and the outside world almost cease to exist. It is just me, the screen, and the keyboard.
Emails, instant messaging, text messages on the phone punctuate what is largely a solitary existence. An entire day can pass without me opening my mouth to utter a single word.
When I am not working from home, I am likely engaging with countless people in person. So, time in my fortress of solitude can be therapeutic and serves as the 'yin' to my public 'yang'. Being able to work in your underwear is pretty cool as well.
The countless forms of electronic/virtual contact are great for being productive, but after eight (or more) hours of this, I start feeling antsy. I start feeling disconnected.
When these feelings make their presence known, I open the door and step outside. With little thought, I pull my socks on and slide on whatever pair of running shoes is available.
Just getting out is a good start, but it's not enough. I need to get away. I put the road behind me and find myself running uphill on a dirt trail.
It is here, kicking up dust that I start feeling connected again. I am connected to the earth. In some small, minute way, I am connected to the planet I live on.
Any lingering feelings of isolation and disconnectedness disappear as I pass a friendly hiker heading down hill in my direction. A smile, a wave, or eye contact is all I need.
I crest the hill and pause to look down. The bridge, the bay, wafting clouds, and a painfully blue sky remind me that I am part of something gigantic and possibly infinite. I am connected.
Eventually, I return to the world of screens, keyboards, and virtual contact. But, my brief escape reminds me of what is real. I run because I need to get myself connected.