Through the forest

23 Nov 2023

Jakob Jung loves football. But over the years, the History student's relationship with the sport has become quite complicated. For Vox, he is going on the lookout to replace the football-shaped hole in his heart. This week, he talks about the benefits of running (and disconnecting in general) and reflects on the upcoming elections.

The leaves on campus have turned orange, the rain frequently forces everyone inside and the halls echo with the sounds of coughing and sniffing. It really feels like November. I am still coughing myself. And I can still feel my post-Covid recovery when climbing up the stairs in the Erasmus building.

This week, I have decided to make use of a break from the rain and to put on my running shoes to slowly build up my stamina again. While I’m slaloming down muddy forest paths, there are some thoughts running through my head. We encounter running all the time. Heros of pop culture like Indiana Jones run from traps to save the world. Software runs on computers and we run lots of errands every day.

All this speed creates a drag that carries us through our life, while we are confronted with a seemingly endless arsenal of messages. These days, I find the news hard to deal with. The climate crisis, the broadcasting of worldwide conflicts and violence, but also the Dutch discourses on international students have been my recent sources of worry.

‘Maybe Forrest Gump was right all along: we should run more from our problems’

Facing this centrifuge of everyday life, wouldn’t it be good to pause from time to time and think about what finish line we are actually racing towards? Maybe Forrest Gump was right all along: we should run more from our problems. Literally and figuratively. Running, in any case, is a good strategy to take a break from the daily bombardment of messages, tasks, and information.

It doesn’t really matter what your way of running, of disconnecting, looks like. Whether it’s a jog through the forest, a long hot shower, or a park bench talk with a box of cholates. It doesn’t really matter. Stepping outside of the daily race allows for a reflection on what is important for you and what you value personally and in a society.

Especially, the latter remains an important question to me. Yesterday’s voting results show that the opinions on what is good for Dutch society diverge tremendously at the moment. Because whichever politician’s run for office you support, it has an impact – on yourself and on others. And having had a look at some of the political comments over the past weeks, I wish some people would go on a reflective run more often.

Read Jakob Jung's blogs here

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