Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flying (Running) Solo

Over the last six years I've learned how to do a lot of things by myself.  I've lived by myself off and on for years, I always travel and shop solo and today I ran my first half marathon by myself. 

And it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  I mean, it was difficult because I had a massively upset stomach the entire time, but nothing that a running partner would help. In fact, the first eight miles were fantastic and my body still feels really good.  It was the second half that was difficult both physically and mentally to get through.  But I finished.  And it wasn't my worst time.  I didn't set a personal record, but there are always a number of circumstances one can't control during a race. 

What stinks is that I'm now home alone.  My sick running partner, who had planned on running the race with me up until yesterday afternoon, was kind enough to come out, cheer me on, take pictures and drive me home.  But that's about as exciting as it got today. 

Running 13.1 miles is an insane experience and an incredible adrenaline rush.  In fact, I couldn't even take a nap today because my heart was still pounding hours later.  Sometimes I have that tree falling in the woods feeling.  If a tree falls in the woods and nobody's there to hear it, does it still make noise? Am I making any noise?

I've long since given up trying to get my father to acknowledge my victories.  But it would help if someone would remember without me having to tell them a thousand times.  I feel like I've spent the last month fighting.  I took two finals, wrote two group papers, gave two presentations, trained for and ran a half marathon, battled a sinus infection, hopped on four flights to see my family for 72 hours, bought everyone's Christmas presents and I won.  I f*ing did it!

And I need a hug.  But instead, my family is thousands of miles away decorating the Christmas tree without me, nobody will return my texts or phone calls, and I'm eating pizza alone.  I've painted my nails, read my book, watched my DVR and even curled my hair out of a combination of both frustration and boredom.  Sundays are typically hard around these parts, but the combination of coming down from the adrenaline rush, being homesick and not having any homework to do is a difficult combination. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The No-Stress Turkey Day

When I would go home for the holidays for the first four or so years after college, I was a bit of a mess.  One Christmas two years ago I was newly laid-off and cried for two weeks straight. Not only was I miserable, but I made everyone else around me sad. I've wasted too much precious time spent with my family picking fights and acting like the typical high-strung big sister and daughter I've always been.

This year was markedly different.  It was the first Thanksgiving I've gone back to Michigan since I've lived in Los Angeles.  And maybe because I knew I was only going to be there for 72 hours, I managed to forget about the fact that I'm in the middle of finals and go with the flow.  I had no agenda, which was a first.  There was no Black Friday shopping that needed to be done, nobody outside the family I needed to see, and nothing I had to do that couldn't be left until Sunday morning when I got back to LA. 

My mother, in particular, noticed how unstressed I was for almost three days. My demeanor changed instantly about two hours before I had to head back to the airport and she noticed that too (for better or worse, exactly what I'm thinking and feeling is written all over my face).  It was nice to not be expected to help with Thanksgiving dinner or worry about what I was wearing or who I was seeing.  Having my whole family in one place was indeed a blessing, and I'm grateful I was able to get out of my own way and really enjoy everyone's company, even if it was only for a few days. 

I also find the holidays the hardest time of the year to be single.  I loved traveling at Christmas with my boyfriend in college and at nearly thirty, there's always part of me that's sad to go home alone AGAIN.  It's easier to not have a 'plus one' because I can do exactly what I want and spend as much time with my family as possible, but all those damn jewelry commercials and smitten couples all over the place? It will definitely be nice one day to have someone to introduce to my parents, wake up with on Christmas morning and keep me company on the airplane.