A lot has changed. That would be an understatement.
My whole life has changed. While my marriage did no work out, my relationship with Brian has been amazing. He’s a great dad, a great support, and we continue to work well together.
That isn’t to say things haven't been hard. Divorce is a very strange thing; the collateral damage that I experienced has been significant. The loss of friendships, the loss of people in my life...it is breathtaking.
But at the same time, some things remain constant.
If running is a constant, well, I have been so fortunate. The loss of a dear friend in October took the wind out of my sails. I wasn’t unable to run for most of 2018 into the new year.
The amazing part - others came into my life. And this is where I find my faith in humanity.
Literally two days after the passing of my friend, a peripheral friend - someone I had known for years but was not close to - reached out to me. She became and still is a lifeline. Others - friends I had not yet met, as well as others that I had not been close to - came into my life. Hope springs eternal.
I spent most of the winter months just surviving. I know now what that means. You get through the day. You dot your I’s, cross your t’s, and go to bed. My job is anything but survival; it’s all performance based. As I struggled with personal demons, I found my solace in work. I love my job. It’s my calling. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but my work kept me afloat when my personal life threatened to drag me under.
The hardest part is when I don’t have Scott. I went from a full-time stay at home mom to a working mother. While I loved my job, the guilt of not being with him was overwhelming. I hated my quiet nights. I could not function. Getting up in the morning without a child to get ready with? What does that mean?
I stopped running. Then I started again, mostly out of obligation. After all, I had identified myself as a runner; that’s what my job entailed, right? I had to run. So I started again. And then when I did, I found myself unable to cope with emotion. It was so eerily similar to when my dad passed away, I was shocked.
On one of my first runs, I stopped, 800m in. It was a stoplight, a natural place to stop. But while my legs stopped, the tears did not. When I doubled over willing the sobs away, dog walker going in the opposite direction looked at me with concern. He asked it I was okay.
Almost automatically, I stood straight up, stopped crying, and smiled. Pride got the best of me. “I’m okay,” I said out of reflex.
And I was.
You cannot run and cry at the same time. I learned this years ago. You have a choice: breathe or cry. I would much rather breathe.
And as trite as it may sound, I would rather breathe. Breathing is life. Crying is a reaction.
Over the last few months, I know now: breathe. Run. Push. Life is hard. I was shocked at the number of people that took glee in my misfortune; people who felt by kicking me, they could somehow feel better about themselves.
But at the same time - I also there is a whole community of others actively cheering you on.
Life is hard. Pick your tribe wisely.
I keep pinching myself, because my new tribe is better than I ever dreamed.
And more importantly - life evolves. It’s slow and scary, but if you keep your sights set on what matters - life has a way of working out.
I am so optimistic about the future. I feel like I know what a true friend is. I am much more cautious with who I have in my life. Best, I know what I am capable of - and it’s more than I ever thought possible.
So stay tuned. I turned 40 in September but feel like my life is just starting over again. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. With the bumps and hills come easy miles too. Life is...good. Life is open.
And for that, I am thankful.