I’m a little late on a “Year in Review” post. This was a mercurial year — there was some really bad, but a lot of good, too. I hesitated to write anything; how does one do justice to an entire year’s worth of experiences? In the end, our lives are made up of moments, and our truths are anecdotal.
This year started off pretty rough, as I entered 2015 by exiting an abusive, destructive relationship. In the coldest month of the year, I moved into an empty apartment that was filled with security and warmth and solitude, even where it lacked things like “bed” or “table” or “shower curtain.” I didn’t care that I had to sit on the floor for the first month, or that my first home-cooked meal (tacos!) required me to dice tomatoes with plastic knives, because it meant that I wasn’t being told how horrible and incapable and selfish I was.
Leaving meant relearning how to stand up for myself when necessary (and that it wasn’t any easier or productive to be a martyr). It meant relearning how to open up to people, how to be vulnerable (forever a work-in-progress), how to trust. It also meant remembering what made me happy — after a time, you genuinely forget what makes you happy.
I had given up running (and training), and blogging. Training was “selfish,” and I had stopped writing entirely because I didn’t trust that even my most private words wouldn’t be used against me. (If you ever find yourself censoring dusty, high school journal entries out of a genuine fear that they’d be read and used against you, you might be in an unhealthy relationship.) Oh, and laughing. I hadn’t done that in a very long time.
I started running again – slowly, at first – with wide eyes filled with Chicago Marathon hopes. Crossing that finish line – strong, and faster than ever – would be my retribution, my comeback. My race medal would be a reminder of my strength. I got a new pair of shoes, and I got a new 5k PR, and then I got injured. And I didn’t run Chicago. In fact, I didn’t run much at all. And I let that fact crush me… until I got some sense talked into me, and I was reminded that no setback defines me, and that there will always be other finish lines.
While I didn’t do a lot of running in the last half of the year, I did do a lot of other great things. I danced like a mad woman, I baked, I volunteered, I grew, and I laughed. I laughed so much.
1) New apartment, new blog
2) Work trip to Philly
3) Building (and spray-painting gold!!) all the world’s furniture.
4) Brother’s birthday involved cake, tacos, & Kurt Russell.
5) Beer festival at Soldier Field with said brother
6) Channeled my inner-Designing Women.
7) First White Sox game in years
8) Witness Protection Program as a brunette
9) Published 1st work piece! (Two for the year!)
1) Met a blonde Texan – photobooth’ed her.
2) Indianapolis wedding road trip
3) Cried while wearing a clay face mask.
4) Attended Chicago premiere of “The Overnight ” (currently avail. on Netflix!)
5) Cheered to my first Orange Julius experience
6) Attended my first pig roast (4th of July)
7) 1st Jazzin’ at the Shedd experience
8) Dusted off my cowbell for a few triathlons
9) Celebrated Labor Day on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore.
1) First Chicago-area trail run
2) Adopted MSU and made 1st fancy cookies
3) Ate bratwurst on the curb for Chicago’s Oktoberfest
4) Carved a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch!
5) Watched my cousin marry her best friend
6) Ran a trail race & dominated the post-race chili
7) Celebrated the birthday boy with a beer tasting!
8) Assembled and consumed charcuterie platters with abandon.
9) Served as a Running Buddy for GOTR Chicago!
1) Attended my first MSU basketball game
2) Enjoyed a dinner with my favorite Iowan
3) Hiked the Royal Arch Trail over Thanksgiving!!
4) Xmas decor & 1st live Christmas tree…ever!
5) First roasted chicken!
6) Glühwein at Chicago’s Christkindl Market
7) Had my guy in Indy post-Xmas (TLC road trip)
8) NYE wedding in Chicago’s West Loop
9) Ending 2015 in the arms of the kindest, silliest, most supportive guy I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Not pictured (because I was really awful at documenting some bigger stuff): Attendance at upwards of thirteen concerts, including a road trip to Milwaukee to see Houndmouth; new workout experiences, including November Project and New Balance’s Girls Night Out; incredible meals, including but not limited to Juno, Parachute, Sink|Swim, Dusek’s, Avec, and Milktooth; the most fun family Christmas I can remember; and, when all was said and done, more than 420 miles on Chicago’s roads and trails. What this year taught me more than anything was the power of gratitude and appreciation, and those are tools I will carry with me always.
If 2015 was the year of redemption, 2016 is the year of momentum.