It really was time for a vignettes-style post, in which I try to redeem myself as a blogger by cram-posting everything I’ve been up to since I last posted. But then yesterday, as I pondered turning 35 years old on what happened to also be American Thanksgiving, I changed courses.
Below, you’ll find 35 things I’m thankful for, in deliberately random order, and a veiled update on life so far back here in the great white north.
1 – coffee » As my friend Charisa put it so eloquently in her similar post, coffee rocks. While my love of the stuff definitely borders on addiction, I don’t really care. Coffee reminds me on a daily basis that as long as I have something to look forward to getting up for, I will be happy.
2 – old friends » Though I haven’t used Facebook much over the past year, having over 100 people post on my wall and countless others text, private message, and call was a pretty great feeling. It reminded me that friends love us because they choose to. Imagine that! Reconnecting with old friends here has helped ease the sting of the goodbyes I said not long ago.
3 – new friends » The potential and friendly companionship of meeting new people here has also helped ease that sting, and I’m grateful for that. #extrovertproblems
4 – dissatisfaction » Because it keeps us reaching beyond our grasp.
5 – health » Well-being, fitness, the luxury of and commitment to daily movement … whatever you want to call it, I couldn’t live any other way. Sure, I have an issue that makes running difficult sometimes. Suck it up, buttercup.
6 – family » I am so grateful for the people in my life who love me beyond their duty to. I am lucky to call my parents friends, and it has been magical reconnecting with my brother Matt and cousin Laura here in Vancouver.
7 – canada » Sure we’re not perfect, but my country is beautiful, accepting, and built on values I hold dear. Though we joke about it, it really does feel better than I imagined to be back. (Now all that’s left to do is get booze into grocery stores. Progress, people!)
8 – vancouver » I’ve been here just over a month and this city has recaptured my heart—just as it did 10 years ago when I moved here to mend a broken one. What a funny role places can play in our lives, not merely as spaces we inhabit, but that define us.
9 – san diego » Those 5 years were formative in many ways, and I will always always look back on that place of endless summer with fondness (whether or not I ever end up back there).
10 – seasons » Yes to cool-weather running, yes to excuses to buy more sweaters, and yes to added incentive to bake, make soup, and drink tea.
11 – food » Food adds a fun dimension to life (more to look forward to, see coffee comment), and is both an experience and a tangible thing we can share on a daily basis with others. My current obsession: Ramen.
12 – a real off-season » I haven’t let my weekly training volume dip into the single-digits over this long a period in 5 years. I took a whole TWO WEEKS off (really off) through Kona and the move, and since then have been guided more by social invitations than schedules. Whether it’s my new 10k loop around False Creek (did you hear that? k??), a dip in my apartment complex’s legit lap pool, or a spin class, I’m feeling balanced athletically in a way I haven’t in some time. A side perk has been taming my guilt complex. Unfortunately, too many of my decisions stem from the following types of thoughts: “I should run.” “I only did Masters today, I should go do strength.” “I should do another race this season.” “I shouldn’t have another beer…” On and on it goes. I can say with confidence, over the past few months I’m winning the war on guilt.
13 – technology » Skype, What’s App, iMessaging, FaceTime, my phone and computer—for all it’s ills, it makes it possible for me to not only work remotely, but keep in close contact with friends and family who are farther away than I’d like.
14 – avocados » God did a good job inventing these ones.
15 – trail running » Thanks to Liz I’ve been able to hitch onto a group of legit trail runners a couple of times so far. I’ve been blown away at the variety and accessibility of terrain around here. My first excursion was to the Deep Cove area, where we hammered out a 1:45 run on the Quarry Rock trail. We hit Honey’s afterwards for their life-changing doughnuts. Then, last weekend we drove to Squamish (my first time!) and ran for two and a half hours on the trails surrounding Alice Lake. I was a little out of my league (being the only one not decked out in/sponsored by some kind of adventure gear outfitter) but I mostly held my own and the experience made me want to get a lot better at forest exercising. ;)
16 – yoga » I haven’t been doing it enough (guilt monster again!), but I love that somewhere along the way I fell in love with this ancient practice, as trendy as it has become.
17 – normal weekends » Aside from trail running and the odd spin class here and there, my weekends have looked more like a normal person’s lately. There is life outside of Ironman training? Let me tell all of you what normal people do on the weekends: They don’t worry about what time they’re getting to bed on Friday nights, or count their beers. They go for coffees and walks and groceries, and hang out at Home Depot. One weekend we headed to the Sunshine Coast with my cousin Laura and her family for some hiking, kayaking, relaxing, and crab fishing.
18 – my cat » Her playful antics and regular affection make me smile every single day.
19 – my job » I am so grateful for a job that challenges me, delights me, and yes, even that frustrates me at times. This past year has been phenomenal career-wise; I feel lucky to have landed at Ironman and like I was cut out for this role.
20 – home » We still need a bed frame and coffee table, but the new digs in downtown Vancouver are coming together nicely. Our place has tons of windows (yay natural light!) and the sound of traffic actually makes decent white noise for working. I have moved so many times in my life that both nesting and adapting come easily to me.
21 – swimming » I am thankful to have discovered this amazing sport in my adult life. No matter how old or fat or out of shape I get, there is always swimming, and I plan to keep on doing it.
22- Winnipeg » This little prairie city hides a piece of my heart in its windy, freezing clutches. I’m grateful to be from there, and I’m grateful to be returning for Christmas after four years away.
23 – roots » My childhood and extended family, the evangelical Christian culture I was raised in, the choices I made … all of it has contributed to who I am and where I’ve landed. It wasn’t perfect, and some things left scars, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
24 – biking » If this sport wasn’t part of triathlon I would probably have given up on tri by now. The opportunity to see the world from a bike saddle is something I am grateful for every time I swing a leg over one. In the words of H.G Wells: “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” Yep. What he said.
25 – my Ironman lifestyle » As fun as the aforementioned off-seasoning has been, the stark contrast to the usual has left me missing my normal lifestyle of near-constant endurance training. I miss following a plan, and getting real honest work out of my body. I miss falling asleep feeling truly spent. I miss the productivity boost training gives me in the other areas of my life. I miss the kind of conversations riding a bike seems to cultivate, and I miss recovering all afternoon in my NormaTec boots. I even miss the obsession. Currently, however, I’m OK with this state of things, and the space it’s given me to embrace moderation and newness, and to get back in touch with things I missed about myself.
26 – running » as the triathlon discipline I am the most terrible at and enjoy the least, running reminds me of the gifts of stepping beyond the comfortable and familiar. It teaches me that hard work yields lightness, efficiency, and energy.
27 – travel » My job and my hobby both mean that travel is relative constant in my life. Yay!
28 – booze » Despite a daily deliberation over whether I drink too much to be considered a serious triathlete, I do love my libations. This city has some fine cocktail bars, and decent new craft breweries to try. If you feel the same way and haven’t seen this Buzzfeed video on women who appreciate alcohol, you should.
29 – music » For some reason I’m on more of a music kick lately. I’m not sure if it’s just a general happy mood or what, but everything from cheesy Bieber to Patty Griffin (who we saw live a few weeks ago, love!) is bringing me joy these days.
30 – popcorn » It just makes life better. That is all.
31 – education » it was a long haul in some ways, and expensive, but I’m grateful for the inquisitive mind it helped me nurture, and the useful tools it provided in helping me live the life of a responsible adult when inside I feel like an 8-year-old who just wants to ride bikes.
32 – beets » They win for vegetable of the year again in my books.
33 – sunshine » I am obviously much more appreciative of sunshine here in Vancouver than I was in San Diego. But man, do I ever love a clear blue sky.
32 – mountains » Being near them again rocks. (Get it? Rocks?)
33 – the ocean » Wait, I still live by the ocean? Living the dream over here.
34 – grace » Divine grace, human forgiveness, self-compassion, whatever form it takes, I’m grateful for it. I’m pretty convinced we wouldn’t get very far without it.
35 – love » giving it. getting it. feeling it. chasing it. messing it up. getting it right. questioning it. relishing it. celebrating it. mourning it. trusting it. all of it.
OK, that took longer than I thought. I am old.