The brevity of life is part of what makes it so special. When I think about death, I am not really afraid. No, I don’t want to die, but eventually I will. Instead, I want to make my life here on earth as full of meaningfulness as possible. Over the past couple of years, I’ve changed my perspective of time an priority. I heard on Running on Om, a great podcast by Julia Hanlon about life and running and great people, an analogy that the time left you have left in life is like a savings account, and its up to you how to spend your time. I love this analogy. Reflecting on death puts a limit to the time you have saved and really forces you to live to the fullest. I am intentionally focusing on trying to make my relationships more meaningful, not that I valued them less before, but that this is really a priority for me and I want to put my energy into meaningful relationships.
Death or injury can come from anywhere. Do what you love, with the people you love. Life is too short not to. And don’t forget to #WomanUp2016
In her blog, Ask Lauren Fleshman, Lauren gives the writing prompt, to put pen to paper and write for 2 minutes. “What I really remember about that meal was…
…trying to eat with chopsticks, but anxiety making my hand shake so uncontrollably I could barely get food into my mouth. I know this is where I belong, but this is not what I should be doing. Discounting my intuition makes me so unhappy.”
I’ve been searching for inspiration, and am being drawn to the topic of anxiety, something I’ve suffered from without even noticing for years, even decades perhaps. I hope to use this medium to investigate the anxiety I feel and how to perform (in sport career, and life) despite fear and feelings of uncertainty.
Professional Goal: Be Principle Investigator on a project
Its good to have measureable goals that you can communicate in less than 140 characters, but I want to dig a little deeper into what each one means to me. 2015 was a year of change. Our family moved across the country, back home to California. This is where I feel in my element. Life is easier, and more importantly, happier. We are all set up for success, with a lifestyle that is easy to relax and be happy while we do it.
Run 1/2 Marathon in less than 1:45:00 – Pretty self explanatory, SMART goal for running. I have signed up for the San Diego Craft Classic in July. Plenty of time to train, plenty of time to try again. This goal has been eluding me since 2012. I know I can do it. I am going to do it this year.
Stay injury free – This sounds easy, but while chasing my running goal it has a lot of small implications. I have to keep up with my PT exercises; I have to consistently do boring prevention strength training for core, hips, hammies, and glutes; I have to consistently stretch and do mobility (this is where I have consistently fell short in the past); I need to fuel and hydrate properly; I need to sleep enough.
Be PI on a project – This is ambitious. I am just starting a new job. I am not ready for this year’s internal funding competition. I can either take over as technical lead on an ongoing project or pitch to outside funding sources. Given that I have 6 months of projects before I can start my own work, it is a reach. But if I have this goal in my head, I can work towards it and be much closer than I have been to do this. This is the scary one, the one that will really force me to step out of my comfort zone.
In addition to these goals, I have auxillary intentions of how I would like to shape my life and my being.
Spend time with my family
Be open to makeing friendship and put in effort necessary
Try new things (I want to skate in parks, ride a motorcycle, stand up paddleboard, surf, become a dog trainer, volunteer at an animal shelter)
Two thousand fifteen. Three hundred and sixty five revolutions to orbit around the sun one more time. I started this post as a reflection of everything that happend this past year. What I had gone through, how hard it was. 2015 was full of trials, growth, and accomplishments. That alone deserves a moment of reflection. It was a year of regrowth for us after 2014 left us lonely, broken and missing some pieces. After all of that, we knew that we wanted to leave the East Coast, not sure how or where but this wasn’t the place for us. The year turned out to be a journey full of self-discovery, physically, personally, and professionally.
Throughout the year I had interviews with 5 different places. The first was a phone interview. I prepared based on what the recruiter had informed me. After a few out of my control events, I had extremely high anxiety. The discussion went horribly! I was completely caught off guard by the nature of the call and knew instantaneously that I wouldn’t be on the short list for an onsite interview. The whole time I just wanted the call to end. This was a pretty bad blow to my confidence and took some time to emotionally recover from.
Throughout the year I investigated different opportunities from industry to academia. Nothing quite as bad as my first experience, but definitely a bumpy road. The thing is, if you are trying to move across the country, an interview can be a big investment: money up front, time off of work, and red-eye flights to get home for work or to have time with my family. Throughout all of this, I already had a job that I was good at. Putting yourself through this sort of abuse (anxiety up to the event, being able to professionally handle malevolent interviewers, and learning that rejection isn’t a reflection of personal worth) when you are comfortable- not happy, comfortable- is a very tiring process. I ended the journey with the best interview experience one could hope for. I dug out my defense slides and cleaned them up for a diverse crowd. After a couple of practice rounds, I fell right back into the groove, comfortably discussing my work and energetically presenting. The rest of the day I saw labs full of interesting work and having good conversations with my future supervisors. I knew that I wanted to be there and that I would have the support to develop my career. I am happy to be there now and looking forward to using my skills and background on various projects in the coming months.
Physically I didn’t have any tangible goals. I wanted to regain strength and feel like myself again. I fought against shin splints throughout the year, which got the best of me after over extending myself running the Ragnar Relay. I ended up even going to the doctor, who allowed me to run my goal race (Nike Women’s 1/2) but informed me that the new pain was shin splints and recommended physical therapy. I ran my goal race after taking a couple weeks off, other than 1 or 2 shake out runs, and missed my goal by a couple minutes (my chip time was 1:48, goal was <1:45). Despite not having an A race, I had a great weekend with two of my favorite sisters in sport. After the race we toured San Francsico by food and drink. It was fantastic!
After the race I started PT, which felt nice but wasn’t the best. We did discover that my right, medial gastroecnimeus wasn’t firing properly and I have a huge knot so I got bi-weekly lower leg massage and a plan to test my bone strength by running once or twice a week and increasing my mileage each run. I am up to 4 miles and don’t yet have any bone pain, so I’m hopeful I can make it to 5 miles before the end of the year and be cleared to begin a normal base training regimen.
The biggest, but unexpected event of the year was when we adopted our fur baby, Badger. He is pretty great. I had no idea what was missing from my life, or that having someone that you care for would be so rewarding. Within a few months Badger no longer had skin issues or soft stool. Over the months following, he kept gaining weight, he’s my little tank! Honestly, I was worried about the cost and the time that a dog requires, but it is the best investment anyone can make. The return in love, motivation, confidence, and happiness is more than I could have imagined. He is the best thing that we have ever had. I love my doggy Badger!
It is good practice to take time to reflect what you have accomplished. I am proud of my growth and performance in 2015. It was a hard road, but I have emerged a stronger and wiser than I entered. I am grateful to the friends and support I have had along the way. I am proud of my family, my new home, and the direction my career is going. I stand here, a strong woman, ready to see what the future has in store for me.