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2012 reflections – the CliffsNotes addition

Posted Jan 01 2013 10:36am
Hello! It’s been awhile. I spent my Christmas at home in Minneapolis and it was lovely. I have been back in Chicago for a couple of days which is also lovely. Isn’t my family lovely. This might be the best picture we’ve taken in a couple years – fun fact. 
 
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I wasn’t going to do a recap of 2012. Mostly because I am so happy to see it leave. 2012 was my hardest year. I lost several identities throughout the year. 
 
In February I no longer could call myself an early 20-something.
Oddly in that same 24 hour period that I turned 26, my grandfather passed away. 
 
In March I found myself no longer a student when I finished my graduate degrees. Enter major identity crisis. 
It was in the spring that I also temporarily lost my runner identity (spoiler – I get that runner identity back in a BIG way in October.)
 
April and May I spent looking for jobs and failing finding jobs. I struggled to see any positive in my everyday activities. Being in Seattle felt like I was really far away from my supportive family. There were a lot of tears out of frustration. I realized that my life was so out of my control – really for the first time. There were (are) no jobs. And little I could do about it. 
 
June was a big month. I walked at my graduation, accepted an un-paid internship that sounded like a perfect opportunity and said goodbye to Seattle. June was when I moved to Chicago. June was also the month that we put my dog Mac to sleep and my grandma spent a lot of time in the hospital recovering from scary health problems that prevented her from coming to Seattle for my graduation. Somewhere among the chaos I found my running identity and started training for the Chicago Marathon with a new running group. 
 
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July – September I reconnected with some of my old friends from preschool, high school and college in Chicago. I also was invited to a wonderful book club with some fellow Chicago bloggers and began some wonderful friendships. I sweated a lot in my apartment with no air conditioning in the Chicago summer and FINALLY thawed out from my freezing three years in Seattle. I trained hard for the Chicago Marathon and fell in love with watching the sunrise as a trotted along Lake Michigan. I applied for hundreds of jobs as I held down my full-time internship. For the first time ever I had weekends free!!! No homework. And it was amazing. 
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October brought the Chicago Marathon… I loved it. I missed my goal of sub 4 hours BUT I PRed. I never hit a wall and enjoyed every moment. I didn’t find myself just wanting to finish at mile 24. Instead, I found myself in the moment. 

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November and December blurred together with the holidays and job rejections. The end of the year was stressful and at times absolutely overwhelming due to my unemployability. Again, I have lost my runner identity BUT I have found that I enjoy classes at the gym (ballet burn – WHAT?) and I am optimistic that my legs will once again want to run as the spring comes. 
 
This seems like a downer recap. It was the toughest year I’ve ever had. However, when I think about how much I’ve grown in the last year all I can do is smile.
 
2012 was the year I lost control. I spent five months not knowing where I would be moving to and knowing I could be moving for a job at anytime. When no job came my way I moved to Chicago, a city I had only visited twice. At times I couldn’t convince my legs to run. I called my mom a lot in tears when the job search became too much. I watched some of my best friends get jobs, get engaged, get married and buy houses. Some very grown-up things that, guess what, I can’t control but make me feel like I am a child while my friends are adults. I spent the year in this limbo where I want to be grown up with a job and health insurance but I can’t control that. 
 
The part that makes me smile is how I handled the things in my control. I opened myself to new friendships and rekindled friendships with old friends. Both challenging for different reasons.  I made a home in Chicago and this city feels more home like than Seattle ever did. I developed this independence while I let Chicago suck me in. I did all my long runs for the marathon with a group – something I didn’t do in previous training cycles. I read over 100,000 pages attending random book clubs along the way. I played in the kitchen and made a lot of wonderful things.
 
Most importantly I woke up and realized how supportive the people around me are. My family is amazing and I honestly think it is only this year that I truly appreciated my parents. I am ashamed to admit this but it is part of the growing thing. My parents are awesome. I also realized that I am a work in process. I am too controlling, judgmental and rigid. But that is okay. Because it is something to work on. 
 
What do I have in mind for 2013? I don’t know. Hopefully fewer tears of frustration. But what I do know is that I will continue to grow. I am excited to end 2012. But even more excited to give 2013 a try.
 
Xoxo,
Emily

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