One sunny afternoon, on a particularly fantastic run, I began reflecting on everything that changed in 2014; of all the things that amazed me this year.
Running goals I didn't even know I had were smashed. I surprised myself with a half marathon finish I never expected, I qualified for Boston with a finish time I didn't know I was capable of. Just two months ago I ran 50 miles with a smile on my face and a stronger finish than other races I've run that were a fraction of the distance.
I'm almost hesitant to say goodbye to this running year, even with the Boston Marathon looming in the near future. Because what happens after that? Everything I ever dreamed I'd do happened in 2014. The next year is an unknown. That leaves me feeling both excited and underwhelmed, in an odd way. I chased a big dream for a long time, so what do I chase now?
To be determined, I guess.
Over the summer I said goodbye to a long, long time of living alone, and took a giant leap with Travis. Now we share a home, and it's a great home. Are there times I miss the absolute solitude of living alone, all my things in their places, every mess my own? Absolutely. But, as I told him recently, I can hardly imagine what our relationship was like before we shared a home. Now we also share a lawnmower and a snowblower and groceries and a cat. Shit got real, and I'm proud of us.
To be clear, Chicken is forever and ever and ever and ever and ever mine. But we all live under the same roof, and he loves her pretty hard, so it's OK for him to stake a claim.
That day, while running, as I thought of all the awesome that rained down this year, I practically cried right there in the middle of my run because that's what I do with all these emotions of mine. They just happen.
But then I thought of the one scar that completely maimed an otherwise perfect year -- losing my kitty.
I swear to god, I have not recovered. And, I suppose it's not shocking, but I didn't know I could feel so absolutely deeply for so long. I feel haunted, regularly, by those last few moments in that goddamn little room at the vet clinic.
She bit me, you know. She bit me in a panic just before it all happened. I had to go straight from the vet, still grieving, to urgent care at 8 o'clock on a Monday night, and spend the next seven days on antibiotics to fight off any infection that might take hold in my pinkie, which swelled up like a bitch.
That's what I have to remember about that day.
It all coincided with the move, of course. I went from living alone with my two cats, to a new home, a new life, and one less cat. Ten years of normal wiped away for a new normal. An exciting, but a the same time incredibly tragic, new normal. It was more change than I anticipated, and man, that's been a struggle.
Add in a dash of winter, a sprinkle of 4 p.m. darkness, a cup of professional unfulfillment, a taste of lost running motivation, and here we are.
Needless to say, the last couple months have felt like an enormous pile of No Thank You. This isn't new for me. Every year as November hits, I fall into a slump, just with less of the cat factor. This year's been different, though, because I've had to expose it to someone else -- a live-in boyfriend.
For the majority of my adult life, whenever the winter slump hits, I can hide. Oh, can I hide. On the couch, with my blankets, with my cats, with my solitude, and just ride it out in my own way. No one to answer to, no one to explain to, no one to wonder why I don't want to leave my sweatpants. Ever. Not even a little. Nope, I'm good here, hiding out alone with my television series marathons, thanks.
So this is new. And it's opened my eyes a little bit. I haven't necessarily liked having to open my eyes, but that's how we grow, right?
I don't even know where I'm going with this other than to hope someone can relate, and together we can feel okay knowing we all feel a little inexplicably miserable sometimes. But that it gets better, and it's okay to lay on the couch and watch six episodes of Sons of Anarchy in a row on a Saturday afternoon.
Wait. That's okay, right?
For me, fortunately, things are beginning to feel brighter. My running mojo is slowly creeping back, for one. It must have been hiding wherever the sun's been hiding for the last six weeks.
I also had a great job opportunity sneak its way into my attention span (probably between episodes of Sons of Anarchy), and before I knew it, I was offered the job. I stepped way the hell outside of my comfort zone even pursuing the opportunity, and that, alone, did wonders for my outlook.
So it looks like my year of change will end with one more big one -- the end of my current job, which came to me when I needed it most, and has been my constant for three years.
But I'm excited that 2015 will start with a new opportunity and a new challenge. I took a chance on myself, and then, hey, look at that. It paid off. It's not often I like to willingly crawl outside of my safe space. In fact, never do I like to do that, let's be real.
So chin up, self. It's a big, bad (and cold and dark) world, and you've just gotta live in it and make it happen.
Other things of note:
- I spent the last month 100 percent addicted to the "Serial" podcast, and if anyone wants to road trip to Maryland to visit Adnan in prison and solve a crime, let's go.
- Sarah Koenig's voice narrates my inner monologue now, thanks to that addiction.
- Sons of Anarchy, you guys. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.
- I've read some great and not-so-great books in the last few weeks, including, but not limited to: Dark Places, Sharp Objects, Looking for Alaska, This is Where I Leave You.
- Currently reading: Wild
- In August I started the 100 Happy Days challenge of taking a photo a day of a happy moment. I loved it so much, I kept it up. Today is day 136.
- Gave National Novel Writing Month a shot again in November. Made it to about 20,000 words, which is the furthest I've ever gotten. I smell success by about the year 2024.
I'm officially out of bullet points. Cheers to a hell of a year, and even more to a bigger one to come.