People & Places Part IV (3 Year Seattle-Anniversary Edition)

Three years and some days ago, I planted my roots in this Pacific Northwest soil as I declared Seattle the fifth new city I’d called home in six years time.

Shortly thereafter, I wrote People & Places Part II where I stated “the challenges and excitement that accompany constant change somehow soothe me”.

My twenty-six-year-old self that arrived that April 2015 day with sand in her shoes; wouldn’t believe me if I told her, that, here I sit 1,095 days later, in the same city, with the same job, in a neighborhood where people know my name when I walk down the street, to what I’ve designated as my local watering hole.  I’ve watched people come, go, and in some cases, return again.

Familiarity. A concept long foreign to me for the larger part of this past decade.

And while, over the course of these years, I’ve learned new things and embarked upon many an adventure; the big picture is defined by the people who have surrounded me.

After arriving into Seattle’s arms where I claimed just a few acquaintances and a sole friend; I’ve been fortunate to build many friendships that I’m certain will last a lifetime.

Friends who make me laugh; who inspire me to do things;  who pick me up when I’m down; who tolerate me when I’m agitated; who teach me things; who love me; and most importantly; who make the choice every day to make others feel GOOD.

In this time, sadly, I’ve also lots a few friends.  I’ve allowed this to cause me pain; eventually coming to the realization that, such is life.

I started this piece several weeks back, and have spent many an evening at the keyboard, struggling to find the way to finish it.

This morning, I was having brunch with a couple of girlfriends, one of which, had just turned 30.   The other chimed in to recall that turning 30 had been her favorite year yet, in that, she started becoming aware of the types of people she wanted to surround herself with.

Suddenly, it was clear to me, what difference three years does make.

I’m still far from perfect; I still have copius amounts of learning to do; I still talk too much, and tell too many stories; and I still worry a bit more than I should.

But one thing I’m sure of: 2018 me is far better at identifying who I want in my circle.

Aesop said that, “A man is known by the company he keeps”.

I guess my twenty-four-year-old self knew a thing or two when she wrote People and Places Part I and closed with this:

“I can’t be sure what destinations lie ahead; but I rest assured, wherever they may be, I’ll find myself in good company”.

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The Difference A Year Makes IV

2017.

I often found myself pondering the seemingly sad state of the world.

Though, I also…

Laughed till I cried while belting the lyrics of “Vamos A La Playa” with Randy and Ariel on the drive home from Mount Baker. I spewed Chardonnay through my nostrils at DeLille’s Tasting Room after Lindsay proclaimed that their wine “smelled like the zoo”.  I picked blackberries with Kellie while walking home from work until my fingers were stained and pricked.  I played hookey from work to spend the day with Megan and a bunch of guys old enough to be my dad, out on the links. I watched my baby brother play some of his final collegiate soccer games.  I sat in my car, stalled, at the top of Queen Anne hill with Traci in the passenger-seat flipping off every asshole who sped around us in fury.  I enjoyed cocktails at a bar on Maui with one of my best friends and her husband, who live on the other side of the country but just so happened to be honeymooning on the same tropical island where I was task-forcing.  I laughed to the tears, yet again, sitting in the backseat of Shelly’s car as Sheila told crazy stories about pet-sitting for an eight-foot-long iguana named Godzilla.

There were some unfortunate things that happened in the world in 2017.  And arguably, negative energy can be found in every corner.

But you know what else can be found in these corners?

Good people.  People who work hard, and who love unconditionally.

Lucky for me – I’m already fortunate to know a good many of them.

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a quote that my friend Kellie had shared with me.  The coincidental rediscovery two years later couldn’t have been more appropriate as I sat down to write this:

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are; when you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you” (Lao Tzu).

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Three Things I’ve Learned From Three People In Three Years

Today is my three-year-anniversary.

Not with a boyfriend.  Not with a job.  Not with the city I live in.

Three years ago today, I took to the keyboard and wrote something in this blog.

It only seems appropriate, on this three year anniversary, that I recall three things I’ve learned, from three amazing people, in three incredible years (whether they have realized it or not).

1. Put Yourself Out There

Randy, and the coupon theory: you get what you give.  Making yourself vulnerable is absolutely terrifying, no doubt. However, forever wondering is far more painful than could be any perceived failure or rejection; this I am sure of.

2. Do What You Want

Shelly said it to me – two years ago; she had quit her job, because it was preventing her from doing just that.  For twenty-four months since, those four words have been resting inside my skull, subconsciously empowering me to leave, to travel, to learn something new, to be around people when I wanted the company, and to be alone when I didn’t.

3. Be Authentic

I was sitting in a meeting with Leslie about a week ago.  She made a statement that resonated with me, “we take our shoes with us when we go”.  I instantly fell in love with it, and tossed the words around for seven days before determining just why: an urge to refrain from measuring ourselves against others; a screaming advocate for authenticity.

I guess all three of them are really saying the same thing.  And I guess what they’re saying can be summed up quite simply by my friend Mr. Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel; because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”

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1,000 Miles

January 1, 2016

It was clear and cold; twenty-eight degrees to be exact.  A slight headache reminded me I had done some drinking the night prior.  I crawled out of bed and into the living room, tiptoeing around a trail of french fries, hamburger wrappers, and two twenty-something boys sleeping, respectively on the floor and couch.

I laced my shoes, pulled back my hair, and hit the pavement.  I darted through the crisp winter air, watching my breath dissapear.  I crossed the Ballard Bridge, at which point I opted to turn home.  Apple Watch told me a steady six miles was the perfect way to ring in 2016, and kick this hangover to the curb.

Back home, for reasons I myself cannot understand, I drew up a challenge: I would run 1,000 miles over the course of the 364 days to follow.

Quick math told me this amounted to less than three miles per day, with a little give and take.  Nonetheless, it seemed attainable.  I was committed.

I pushed through the winter months, diligently logging my 3-4 miles, as frequently as I could manage. The days were short and the rays of sunshine were far and few between.  There was rain, which meant cotton t-shirts stuck to my ribs and a wet ponytail whipping my back with each stride. There was cold, which made for numb fingers, chapped lips and frozen toes. Spring brought with it, longer days, which in turn, allowed for longer runs.

Soon, my evening had transformed from something of a chore, to the reward at the end of each day.  I craved those thirty to sixty minutes, alone on the road; just me and my music.  Sometimes, I worried incessantly; other times, I made plans. Often, I daydreamed.  Mostly, I cleared my head entirely, escaping from anything and everything that had exhausted me throughout the day.  Always, I enjoyed myself; so much so, that in the month of May, I logged more than 100 miles, with ease.

While my passion for the sport grew exponentially, my preoccupation with keeping track of the miles, simultaneously subsided.  Some days, I simply ran until I grew tired, and hopped on the bus home.

At this point, I’ve lost count entirely, and quite frankly, don’t care.  As I prepare for my second half marathon in six months time,  I have to imagine I will come close to, or perhaps surpass, my goal by year’s end.

But I suppose I’ll never truly know, and I suppose I’m just fine with that.

And perhaps, in the end, this little experiment serves merely as another reminder that we are far too often preoccupied with the notion of “being somewhere”, whether it be a mark, a person, a place, a job; that we seldom allow ourselves to enjoy the process of actually getting there.  And when we do, we might just realize, that being there is not all it’s cracked up to be; but in fact, true plesaure lies in appreciating the moments along the way.