I don’t know if I spent more time in 2012 in a state of confusion or in condemnation. For the most part, I was hard on myself, in fact for most of the time I couldn’t even find my super hero alter ego, Invisible Girl. Yes, she too disappeared. Be that as it may, I am committed to spending more time in 2013 looking for the bright spots, but let me warn you that won’t mean I’ll be posting sappy, inspirational blog posts about how blessed I feel as a 52 year-old female living in the modern age. But it does mean that I still have my wits about me, I can poke fun at almost anything and it doesn’t take much to get my self-righteous dander up. As a training run, I thought I would look back at 2012, the year that I have already damned and written off as not worth a second look, and find a few of the shiny objects that caught the eye of this quintessential scavenger.
An Expanded Playlist. I added many, many songs to my music library. I added songs to run to, songs to cry to, songs to be hopping mad to, songs that made me remember, songs that made me forget, songs that matched my voice, songs that became my voice, songs that made me happy, songs that I may never listen to again, songs that made me feel: young, old, alive, numb; and songs that will always be an anthem to simply being human with all these bothersome emotions.
Snow Days. Even though I live in the moderate Pacific Northwest, I loved the snow days that made everything we take for granted turn into chaos. I loved how training for the Boston Marathon started with making tracks through snowy sidewalks and snow drifts and concluded with making snow angels. I like how my daughter and I would walk to the grocery store wearing silly hats and only buy what we could carry, you know the important essentials -- chocolate, red wine, and marshmallows. I love how adults were divided into those who became big kids and those that became big whiners just because the world turned white. I love how it made us pay attention to the quiet, if just for a single day, making us stop to listen; yes, if just for a single day.
The Hut Olympics. Snowshoes, speed Scrabble, Mt. Rainier looming in the distance, good friends, plentiful food, surviving the slip-sliding-cliff-averting-chain-losing trek home, and remembering what happens at the hut, stays in the hut even if it’s a reunion of women in their fifties.
Personal Bests. As uninspired as my year felt as an athlete, the truth doesn’t lie. I accomplished three personal bests at three different distances: 10K, half marathon, and marathon. It’s hard to explain how a middle-aged athlete gets better and faster with age, so I’ve decided to just go with it.
Wallowing in the Mud. I am a warrior and I ran the Warrior Dash to prove it. I prevailed as I crawled under barbed wire, scaled ten foot walls, climbed ropes, leaped over burning coals of fire and swam through muddy waters to cross the finish line. It was dirty, at times terrifying, and in the end bonded me with a large group of people that aren’t afraid to shake it up and don't take life too seriously.
Taking My Mask Off. I had so many moments with friends when I was vulnerable. I let my warts show, asked for help and I was amazed when they didn’t walk away. That has to be the best feeling in the world and that’s when you know who your friends are: no matter what you throw at them, they have their mitt ready.
Mom Time. I was fortunate to spend time with my mom last year, more than I have been able to do in many years. It reminded me how the challenge of thousands of miles should be overcome and how sometimes, no matter how old you get, having your mom at your side is what you need. I was able to be a mom with my daughter as well, sneaking away for a weekend retreat complete with a Candyland/Monopoly marathon, exploring New York City together, and surviving driver’s training. And to see my mother-in-law emerge from a traumatic brain injury without self-pity or bitterness is a lesson that life is both unpredictable and remarkable.
Sweet Escapes. Training for a marathon is hard work and it’s the little rewards that make it bearable. I will remember the friends that met me at the finish line or at the end of a run with a cool drink of water or a hot cup of coffee. I will remember the advice to never feel guilty after a long run and give yourself permission to indulge in a sweet salted caramel, a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie or a decadent bowl of ice cream. Yes, living guilt-free and uninhibited is definitely a bright spot.
And I’m sure there were many more moments that were insignificant to most and proved too light to stay tethered to my weighty year; like wishes made on dandelion puffs, poems scribbled on slips of paper, and all the people who made me laugh, even when I didn’t want to. Yes, I’ll remember all the people who made me laugh and forget about the fact that I didn’t want to. Here's to 2013 and here's to the scavenger within that hopes to be easily distracted with shiny objects.
©Kelly Tweeddale 2013