Breaking a rule (or two)

Any runner worth their soles, anyone reaching for a goal, anyone seeking change knows this cardinal rule — Don’t look back. 

When I’m clocking my miles and time in the world I don’t look behind me. Ever. Who knows what’s back there; 1,000 people, shards of my dignity and doubt. No way, man, no way am I looking back on that. I’m going to just leave it on the pavement, where it belongs because I especially have no room for doubt and all hir friends.

Yet I find myself at an anniversary and I feel I must look back. I must recount the hours to make them all more real, carry more heft than I give them credit for and release them, like balloons.

January 16th I started my job at the Journal Sentinel. A week before, I moved out of my Chicago apartment, I packed up 2 weeks’ worth of clothes and I was ferried up to this strange northern place by my best friend in the whole world, Miss Arizona. I spent the evening in the home of a friend of a friend. She owned it. A house. She wasn’t even 30 yet. We watched the Packers. Which was just an affront to my Chicagoan identity. I had no idea how to talk to people because every experience I had ever had on this planet happened somewhere that wasn’t Milwaukee. And to make matters worse, I was unafraid of animal print, intensely bright colors and admitting I had no idea what I was doing.

In February, I moved into my first single-girl apartment. My parents, being the best parents ever, moved in all my stuff before I got home from work. Everything was in piles. I was missing a chair, a book case, an identity of who I am when I come home to roost. But I had the bones of it, a couch that hosted many nights of cheese, wine and laughter, bedding that makes me smile every morning and a list of all the things I had done in 2011. Later that month I brought a bundle of fuzz into my life.

In March, I made my training schedule. It just kind of happened one day when I came home from work. Two months earlier I had dared myself to run a half marathon. A WHOLE half marathon. OH. MY. GOD. WHY. And after a singular break up (no, not the romantic kind), I found myself searching to rebuild amidst already rebuilding. Running stopped being a dare of endurance and became a dare of perseverance. One more step, one more day, it gets easier the more you do it.  And this carried through the rest of the year.

AprilMayJuneJulyAugust were packed to the brim with pieces of mail, yoga, learning how to feed myself, investing in my home and my health, music, eating cake, seeing the city I live in for all that it is, visiting the city my soul calls home, spending time here and there and everywhere with friends and folks I love, meeting new people and creating a home out of a location. It all happened so fast, and through it all I kept running, laughing, taking pictures and saying thank you (yes, even for the awful hard parts). At summer’s end, I ran 10 miles for the first time while visiting my best friend, Miss Chicago, in California. When I got back the clock showed 12 miles. My toenails turned purple. But good god did that ocean feel good and boy howdy were her parents impressed!

September solidified who I am at the workplace and at home, mostly because I finished my 13.1 FIFTEEN MINUTES ahead of when I thought I would. Mile 4 was all pacing. Mile 7 was total bliss. Mile 9 was an obnoxious brat. And Mile 12 was a blur of preparation, victory and most of all, love.

October summed it all up by forcing me to be emotionally vulnerable for the first time in quite a while. It was terrifying. It was weird. It was worth it. I learned what my heart truly seeks in a companion, I learned not to take shit, I learned to be so completely honest, all things I’ve failed to do in my previous relationships. Maybe one day I’ll take that blog post off “private.”

Following the fall and winter’s bite, I learned once more what it means to work incredibly hard. We had Thanksgiving. Then all of a sudden it was Christmas. And wait, wasn’t New Year’s like, yesterday? Those months are measured in the changes at my workplace. Many small victories. Large ones, too (woo!) but all that aside, there still is much to be done.

It has been said that you fail to remember things when you are happy and the passage of time speeds up when you’re having fun. If I were to measure 2012 by these meters, let the record show that it has been a year of completely unexpected adventure, monumental change, crystallization of the person I am becoming and total gratitude toward the universe for sending me such a full life. It was so HARD. It was so LARGE. It was so FUN. And it all came together exactly how it was meant to — with the love, support and light of the people in my life looking over my shoulder encouraging me to I continue to look ahead.

The second rule I broke? Never writing a blog post over 400 words. But this one isn’t for you, it’s for me.

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