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.
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.
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.
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.
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.