December 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
My dear friend Kate came over tonight and said, “You need a new blog post!” I had been planning on writing a Christmas letter to my readers, but being too much of a procrastinator, that never happened. And yet, in the spirit of Christmas letters, I’d like to look back at 2010 and maybe find a few things I’ve learned.
The Great American Novel. What writer doesn’t think about writing a novel sometime in his or her lifetime? I suppose I thought about it, but that’s all I did. I didn’t actually think I’d sit down to write it, but I received a healthy dose of encouragement from Ian in the fall of 2009 so I signed up for a novel writing course in the winter/spring of 2010. Here’s the deal. I have a story in my head, but it’s personal. And yet, universal. I struggle a lot with writing fiction because how does one separate fact from fiction? Sure, I made up characters and plot, but their truth was my truth. As my book continued, and spending hours thinking about it and writing, the content weighed on me. It was serious, heavy subject matter. It was hard to be in that space, even in a fictional mode. My teacher, my writing friends, my boyfriend at the time all influenced what I was writing, and so when I read what I wrote in the beginning of 2010 has the feeling of that time. I know it seems silly that eight or so months ago has a different feeling than today, but it does. What have I learned? I’ve learned I can write a book. This doesn’t mean I will, but I can. I can sit down and write and plunk out X amount of pages or words when it’s required of me. I’ve learned that my passion is not writing fiction. I’ve learned a lot about genre, character, and the publishing industry. I’ve made good writing friends.
The Marathon. In February, I went to the Birkebeiner to watch my brothers-in-law ski 50 kilometers. My family all trucked to the finish line, and as I watched scores of skiers ski across the finish line–young and old, on two strong legs, and in wheelchairs (on skis)–my eyes filled with tears. It’s emotional to watch feats of athleticism, of determination, of endurance. Right then and there I decided to run the Twin Cities Marathon. That weekend when I got home, I signed up and began mentally preparing myself. Over the summer, I trained with Club Run: a group of thirty or more runners at all different paces. Some–okay, a lot–of them were hard-core marathoners, ultramarathoners, and triathletes, but there were also a handful of first-timers. After a few weeks, I found a pace buddy with Tony. We ran more miles together than I’ve run with anyone else. We talked about running, about movies and music, and more about running. On October 3rd, I ran a marathon in four hours and thirty-five minutes. I am proud of this accomplishment, and yet I learned that I was able to do this not because I am athletic, but because the idea of something “extreme” motivated me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this thing I never thought I could/would do. I thank all of my running friends and my wonderful coaches for keeping me going.
Love. An almost year-long relationship ended in August, and a new one began in October. I’ve been in a number of (what I consider) serious relationships, and I fooled myself into thinking I knew it all when it came to love, but I am learning new things all of the time. It’s wonderful to be close to someone, and yet to be vulnerable is scary. I fear loss. I fear hurt. Everyday I learn to trust. All of this is part of being in relationship. In my own personal history, I wondered how many more shots I’d get at this thing called love, and everyday I feel blessed to be with bd. We’ve spent hours on the road to Duluth and Michigan and around St. Paul, dialogued theology, played music together, cooked meals, eaten messy food, watched The Office, laughed hard, shivered in the cold, met family members and shared histories. It’s been a fantastic couple of months, and I can’t wipe the smile off of my face.
I haven’t said much about work–that thing I spend 40+ hours a week doing. Every now and then I catch myself saying, “I’m not passionate about the content, but it’s a good for now.” Here’s what I’m learning. I like teaching and being in a leadership position. I like that my job is all about relationships with clients, peers, programmers, and my boss. I like learning the dynamics of this organization. You’re right: I’m not passionate about healthcare software, and I’m really okay with that. It’s been a busy year. Challenging. Even fun at times. I’ve been able to travel to D.C., North Carolina, Wisconsin (woo-hoo!) Colorado and Alabama. It’s exhausting, but I still get giddy about fluffy hotel beds, comped meals and getting to know my co-workers better.
Life is full of loss and gift. In March, my grandmother, Pearl Alice Johnson, passed away. She lived to be 89, and I am thankful I was able to see her and visit with her a month before she passed. She was and continues to inspire me to be curious. To press for more details beyond titles and labels. To not be satisfied with cold potatoes.
In November, Tahlia Pearl Rooney was born to my sister Hannah and her husband Ryan. I met her on Christmas Eve and fell in love with her sweet smile and easy-going personality.
I’m tempted to list my new friends and memories of this year, but I know I’ll forget some. I sound like a broken record, but I’m really blessed to have my home, my job, my incredible family, and my lovely friends.
See you in 2011.