Running as taught me something valuable. Running has taught me to say hello.
It’s so simple. I’ve learned to say hello to every single person I encounter on my runs. My thoughts used to wrestle around the hello. Because you see everyone from a distance you have time to think. And that makes every hello intentional. I used to almost whisper it under my breath and accompany it with some fleeting eye contact or spastic nod.
But running has taught me to be brave. Hahah. If you’re thinking I’m being dramatic, you forget… I am a very dramatic person. Hahaha. Yes, I have become a braver person because of running. It is a vulnerable thing indeed to say hello. I don’t know why, but it is. There are people who seem like they’ll reciprocate (they appear more… American, no lie.) and they’re a bit easier to greet. Sometimes I have full blown conversations with them, like the one time I ran into a guy with a dog twice in one run and I thought he was hurt and it turned out he wasn’t and that his daughter went to the same high school as I did and wow what a small world! Or not, since we’re running in the same city lol. Those people are always fun, the ones you run into twice haha. The second time is always friendlier, like heyyyy, I know you! Lol.
And then there are others, the more traditionally ethnic individuals (I don’t know if I defined that correctly). But they’re basically the ajumahs (Korean middle-aged women that are known to be… a little… Idk I don’t know how to describe them without making them look bad), the first generation immigrants that don’t really speak English. Honestly, they’re probably just freaked out because they don’t know how to reply. They don’t acknowledge me in any way, just keep looking straight ahead and moving.
Regardless of the anticipated reaction, I’ve learned to say hello. You can look like the crappiest or meanest person on the planet and I will still say hello because I learned that the hello is about me, not the other. The hello is my way of opening a door, of inviting the other person to connect. Their reply is simply their reply, nothing more. My world remains intact, as will theirs. We can continue moving without validating the other’s presence but why not? Why not be open? This world is so big, yet so small. 7 billion people on this planet, and that person happens to be in front of me. I can’t not say hello.
It definitely has accustomed me to being vulnerable in such a simple way. Of course I love when people respond (smiles are the best!!). But to say hello without the reassurance of a return hello was hard to accept initially haha. But now everyone is entitled to my hello. Hahahah jkjk.
On one occasion, I guessed that this one grandma was Korean so I greeted her in Korean and even slightly bowed and she busted out with the biggest smile. I made her day. That was an extra step of vulnerability for me because what if she wasn’t Korean?!?! Lolll.
I feel like this entry was all over the place. I must get crackin on studying. Finals start tomorrow. Eeeeeeeeee.