A look back at the year that was. The ups, the downs, and how everything I experienced changed me as a person.
I am usually not one for ‘year in review’ posts. They sort of overwhelm me in a way. A year is so long and so vast. It has so many moments and so many memories to recall. I just never feel like I can do it justice in a singular blog post, ya know?
So I’m not going to try. That’s not what this post is going to be. Instead, I want to share some thoughts about this year with you all. It was a year of great change for me and I want to highlight some of the ways I’ve noticed that I’ve changed as a person…inside and out.
It’s funny to think about this time last year when someone posted on Instagram that it was time to ‘choose a word’ for the New Year. Funny enough, I chose CHANGE. However, my idea of change is not exactly what manifested this year. Not that what happened is good or bad in sum, but it’s just different from what I imagined. Such is life though! You never know what curveballs you’ll be thrown.
Here are some ways that stick out in my mind as areas of change in my life this year…
- I ran my second marathon in the first month of the year and PRed. I finally was able to acknowledge I am more capable than I realized as a runner. I qualified for the Boston Marathon for the second time in 3 months…something I never dreamed of.
- In the same vein of thinking, I realized that the body can only be pushed so hard for so long. Training for 3 marathons in a row (with overlapping training cycles) proved to be too much for my body and I sustained some of the worst injuries of my running career only weeks out from Boston. I fractured my pelvis in 3 places. I got off crutches a week ahead of race day and was able to participate in the marathon I had fundraised (and trained!) so hard for. Being on that course with thousands of other athletes, each with their own stories, taught me that it’s not about the Boston Marathon race day itself. It’s about the journey getting there. In 2018, I will cross that starting line healthy, uninjured, and ready to RUN.
- 2017 ushered in a year of living on my own for the first time and discovering I truly value having my own space. Yes, I crave connection and thrive on being with others, but having a place all to myself at the end of the day gives me peace. I also experienced my first move/upgrade to a new apartment and to living with a new roommate!
- I met my best friend and realized that there are people out in the world who are meant to be your family despite having different parents. Chosen family is REAL, friends. My best friend and I have so much in common. It’s like we’re in each other’s heads and are on the same wavelength with our thought patterns. It’s SCARY how similar we are and how connected our journeys have been thus far. I can count the ‘good’ friends I have on my hands…but what makes my best friend my BEST friend is her compassion, lack of judgement, authenticity, 100% trustworthiness, and the fact that she just GETS it. I can talk to her about anything and everything. Despite only meeting in person earlier this year, it’s like we’ve known each other forEVER. I can only hope that each of you can find a friendship as special as this in your own life.
- With that said, this year I discovered how IMPORTANT and CRUCIAL it is to connect with others and maintain relationships. Even on your worst days, when you don’t even feel like leaving the house, being with someone who loves and cares about you can make the biggest difference. Just like the saying goes “you never regret a workout”…well I like “you never regret spending time with a loved one.”
- I started running socially and getting more involved in the local running community. I discovered that fun runs and running with others in general is INFINITELY more enjoyable than running on your own.
- I got another wake up call in the form of a second major injury. THIS is the one that really forced me to change my mindset surrounding exercise and fitness in general. Rest was needed. My mental state suffered. I experienced some of the lowest points of my life. BUT, I also learned that I exist outside of running and outside of my athletic accomplishments. I rediscovered my passions, learned to lean on friends and family in times of struggle, and started to prioritize things other than physical activity.
- I got my first full-time job and started to manifest my own sort of ‘work-life balance’. I am still trying to figure it all out but I am so passionate about the work I do everyday for a company I love.
- I gained a substantial amount of weight and learned (well, am still learning) to accept myself in this new body shape and size. I have a feeling this will be a journey that continues on into the new year…but I am starting to feel that it’s possible to live in my body and accept it for what it is and what it does for me. I don’t have to love my body…but I do have to respect it.
- I realized that life is fleeting. Opportunities for special moments with your loved ones pass by quickly. You have to take advantage of them while you can. I have had a lot of health issues this year…but I am still here. I am still alive, I can still hug my parents, and go for a walk with my best friend. I am lucky and so grateful for those simple things. Not everyone is that lucky. I am making a point to not take these things for granted…to wake up everyday appreciative for another chance to spend time with those I love. Gone are the days of planning my days around runs or exercise. Gone are the days of freaking out about food choices. There is so much more to life than how you move your body or how you feed it. I am glad I’m starting to finally realize that.
Overall, I feel like a very different person than who I was when this year began. In some ways I feel like I’ve grown more into the adult version of myself I am meant to be…but in others, I still feel so much like a child. I know that’s complicated and doesn’t really make sense…but I think it’s because I am in the process of truly finding myself. A good friend of mine asked me if I had ‘listened to my inner child‘ recently….and at the time, to be honest, I had not. So maybe that should be a goal of mine in the new year? To tap into what the inner me wants and needs. Less focus on pleasing external forces and more focus on caring for my self…my TRUE self.
I don’t think I’ll choose a word for 2018. It seems so rigid and structured. Based on how this year went, I don’t really know what to expect in 2018 and I really don’t have any expectations. I won’t say that I am looking ahead to 2018 with optimism or pessimism. Instead, I’ll just say that I am approaching it with curiosity. Isn’t that how we should approach all of life though? With a curious mind and an open heart.
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