I had grand aspirations of writing a lot once I moved to Colorado. I wanted to share nearly real time the wins, the challenges, the vulnerable moments, and the excitement of deciding to move to a different time zone after 29 years of living in the same county.
Really, I meant to write a lot about that.
And then I realized something. Having such a big change both in location, and work style (I am now working remotely), sucks my creativity dry. Martha Beck mentioned this in a video of hers on YouTube that I watched as I packed. I thought she was full of shit.
Now that I’ve been living in Colorado for almost three months I can feel my creative wheels turning, I’m getting some solid routines established, I have a good (and growing) support system, and I can start to see how this new chapter is changing me.
There are two main things that are drastically different for me here.
1 – My relationship with running. My entire running life has been centered in the mid-west. The land of moderate hills, swarms of mosquitoes, humidity so high you barely need to carry water, and horrible winters. I capitalized on the trail systems that were in the Madison area, but dreamed of mountain trails.
And let me tell you, running where I live now is a totally different animal. Not only was the elevation tough to get used to (I live at 5,500 feet elevation), but the trails are WAY more technical than anything I ran back in Wisconsin. I’m in a constant state of navigating rocks, tripping over tree roots and jumping over snakes – it totally works my body in a different way. And you know what? I LOVE it.
Running west of Denver is challenging me in a way I needed to be challenged. I needed new routes, new climbs, and new views. I needed to be out of my comfort zone so I could grow again in the sport.
Not only am I growing athletically, but I’ve also let go of comparing myself to anyone else in the running community here. I’ve made running my own, personal experience. It doesn’t serve me to compare myself against another 40 year old female trail runner who has lived here for the last 10 years. I remind myself of that all the time. This experience is my own. I’m not trying to be the fastest, or the most bad ass. My goals with every single run is to:
-get stronger/fitter/more acclimated
-have a blast and spend time appreciating that I can do this stuff
-always be able to get found after getting lost. (And I pretty much always get lost.)
I’m training for a fall ultra and instead of looking over the results from the last few years, I picture myself having fun while I’m out there. I want to find joy alongside the pain of running and embrace this new chapter of my life.
2 – I have more courage to leap into being the person I’ve always wanted.
There’s something magical about being in a new place where no one really knows who I was back in Wisconsin. There’s no legacy stuff, no people who remind me of my college drinking antics, my relationship blunders, or my mis-steps in general. Here I am, a clean slate to these new people, and that has fostered a wave of courage in me to tackle what has always been my biggest hindrance.
I have been in Toastmasters International on and off for about 4 years now, but I didn’t really take the leap to conquer this fear until I moved to Colorado.
I was approached to speak at two different events pretty soon after moving, and I declined both. Since I am a non-directed kidney donor apparently people want to hear my story.
A lot of people.
After I declined the second speaking gig I had a short but firm talk with myself. If I was going to get past this fear I had to say yes. I had to say yes to a speaking engagement and just do it. Just DO IT. I had to do what scared me most and know that I wouldn’t die in the process.
Just a couple weeks later I was asked to speak at a corporate breakfast for the National Kidney Foundation with my recipient and her husband.
I say yes right away.
SHOOT ME NOW I SAID YES RIGHT AWAY.
I was nervous, but I took that nervous energy and practiced. I practiced a lot. In the shower, in the car, in front of the mirror – you name the place, and I bet I practiced there.
This was going to be the new me. The confident and relaxed in front of a room me. The authentic public speaker me. The active in my kidney donation advocacy me.
That morning dolled up in my favorite dress, I appreciated my willingness to face this thing head on, and enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t much at stake. I was new here, I have never seen these people before, and I was the only expert on my kidney donation experience. I could do this thing.
And I did.
And get this – I LIKED it. I actually enjoyed myself! I felt so good about it that I immediately said yes when I was asked to speak at their board of directors meeting in October, and a few days later said yes to speaking at an event featuring multiple non-directed donors this November!
I needed this move. I was ready for this move. I was at a place in my life that was truly calling for growth and discomfort and adventure and courage. I got all that and then some.
I’m thankful for the amount of people that have asked me about my writing and expressed interest in my new life out here. It has been great to feel my creativity and my desire to write start to wake up again!