Sunday, September 28, 2014

taking big chances, making big changes.

I officially suck at blogging. Well, I've been writing and expressing myself on other platforms, but I've completely abandoned this blog. I'm supposed to be writing about my races here and I haven't been... so here's a list of my races since I've last written.

- The Highlander, March 2013. My first (and thus far, only) obstacle course race. It was SO intense. I lived to tell the tale. I'll do another one day.
- Geist Half Marathon, May 2013. It was really hilly and intense and I was less than two minutes from my PR at the end. (or something like that.) I was super frustrated, but I lived to tell the tale.
- Tower of Terror 10 miler, October 2013. It was better than the previous year, as far as humidity goes, but not great weather by any means. I do like myself a Disney race, though.
- Chicago Marathon, October 2013. Rough race. I was undertrained, to say the least, and basically finished on willpower and adrenaline. Intense. Not my best race.
- Tour de Pain Extreme, March 2014. I PR'd in two of the three races that weekend. I was pretty proud of myself, honestly. That was a rough weekend, but a good one..
- Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon, April 2014. It was a great race, but I was pretty sick and fevery the whole time, so I didn't do well. I probably should not have run, but I am stubborn, sooo.... I couldn't help myself.
(also some 5ks and other short races.)
my mom, brother, and myself after the Oklahoma City Memorial half.


So, life has changed for me SO much in the last year. I started a few new jobs, pushed my boundaries, and changed everything for myself. It's been intense and crazy.

One year ago today, I was preparing for Tower of Terror, my birthday, then Chicago. I was working in a theme park and had been for about two weeks. I hated my job (and actually never even visited the park as a guest while I worked there for two months.). When I wasn't working, I was looking into getting another job, thinking about going to graduate school for creative writing, thinking about doing big things with my life... doing a lot of thinking, but not really doing much planning or ...doing. I was stuck in my comfort zone, hanging out with the same two or three people, working a job that I hated, but was comfortable, just living day by day.

Last November, I started working at a local running store. That's when I started to change, when everything started to change for me. That was my first retail job, save for one Christmas seasonal job many years ago. It was a job that was related to something that I was passionate about and, frankly, I was pretty excited about it. It was a little bit of a step out of my comfort zone, since I wasn't accustomed to working in retail, and because I really only knew the things about running that pertained to myself. I challenged myself to learn a lot about my new job and, so, I did learn a lot.

I also made new friends. I had been in Florida for a little bit over three years at that point and I had pretty much stuck to the same core group of friends, my roommate, who I moved to Florida with all of those years ago and a few friends that I worked with at my previous job. I am, initially, pretty quiet, so it takes me a little while to really get to know people. I did make new friends in my new job, though, friends that really helped me to see things through a new perspective, see how much I could change and really become who I wanted to be.

I applied to go back to school this fall, which would have been last month, and even got accepted. It was a tough choice, though, because I wasn't sure that I wanted a third Bachelors Degree... I really just need to get my Masters. (getting another Bachelors would be like going back to my comfort zone again. This entire year has been about pushing those boundaries.)

Then, last May, I got a second job, lifeguarding. That pushed my comfort zone even further. Though I was pretty much raised in water, love swimming, and swam competitively a little bit, the idea of being responsible for saving OTHER people was a little bit overwhelming. I almost decided to give up as soon as I started, to run back to something that would make me feel more comfortable. BUT, this entire year has been about me pushing my boundaries... so I did. I stayed.

The last four or five months have been really conflicting. My mind has been all over the place. I've been in Florida for four years. Moving here from Indiana was a huge deal. I was 23, just finished college, and moving for graduate school. I didn't finish grad school, which is disappointing, but I learned a lot about myself while I was here. I made friends from all over the world. (literally, from China to England to Canada to... pretty much ever state in the United States.) I always wanted to move to Florida, so I did... and I made it work. It wasn't everything that I wanted, but I gave it a shot and that's what is important.

So, it has been a little over four years.
& now the adventure is ending.

My last day at work is this week, my birthday is on Saturday, and then I am going back to Indiana to work for a while and search for my dream job. (and work on my writing.) I don't know how long I will be there, but I will enjoy my family, go to my cousin's football games, my other cousin's roller derby bouts, hang out with my sister, play with my baby cousins, visit my grandparents... and take some time to figure a few things out about myself. (oh. and I will also get to hang out with some of the best friends in the world. duh.)

I might be most excited for an Indiana Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If I've learned anything this year, it's that I can do a lot of things. I need to focus on the things that I'm passionate about and try to do these big things that I've been talking about doing for years, but have been putting off. I have really stepped out of my comfort zone in the last year, which is pretty big for me, being a comfort zone kind of girl and all... I just want to continue pushing myself. So that's what this plan is.

I've had this lifetime fantasy about my life, since I was very young. Well, the dream really began when my mom was reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie to me, so, probably around the age of five or six. I've wanted to be a writer, I've wanted to write stories that impacted other people the way that those books impacted me and made me think. I've wanted to live somewhere beautiful, to have the kind of life that I can do my writing and then go outside and enjoy the beauty. For a while, I studied Journalism, I even studied Mass Communications in grad school a little bit, but I'm not a reporter. I'm not hard hitting, I'm not in your face. I want to write beautiful stories, live in a beautiful place, and make a small impact in the world.

So that's the dream... and in order to achieve it, I actually have to step out of my comfort zone. I have to share my very personal stories with people. (which I don't do. ever.) I have to learn to stand on my own two feet without leaning so heavily on other people.

...and honestly, I need to stop settling on mediocre. I can be bigger and better than I am allowing myself to be. I've been okay with mediocre for way too long.

"I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and, above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be." (Roald Dahl)
Honestly, I'm making massive changes in my life right now. It's terrifying, especially for a comfort zone kind of girl. At the same time, I also realize how important it is. All of it...
As much as this last year has changed SO much about my life, I think that the next year will be even bigger for me. I'm excited, but nervous and terrified.
sidenote: I couldn't have made these decisions without two really awesome people that I know. (well, two and a halfish, maybe three.) The people who told me to do it when I told them about my writing, about my goals, about my huge life changes. (so thanks. just saying.)
over and out.
...and maybe I'll actually write a race report about Chicago this time. haha.
My friend Andi and me, after I didn't die in Chicago last year.