Wheels are turning… slowly… but definitely starting to move in a new and definite direction. No, I haven’t yet done anything substantive about selling this condo, but I look around it now and I know that I can. I have had a series of small insights over the past couple of weeks that all point in this same direction.
There was the day when I stood in the household goods aisle at my favorite local natural foods grocery and realized that I didn’t have to make a special trip to Ralph’s to buy Kurt’s favorite “name brand” laundry detergent. I could buy an earth-friendlier product right there. Then the same thing happened with paper towels. Then I started to think about the “stuff” that I am ready to let go of, both here and at home in Washington. All of the footprint-reducing actions that I first wanted to do five years ago are possible now. I can get more serious about growing my food in my own back yard, or given the poor sun exposure in my back yard, I can even apply for a nearby community garden plot. I can become the full-fledged member of my chosen community that I always intended to be.
For our first six years in Washington, I was a graduate student in addition to holding down a fulltime and very challenging job in the big-corporation world. I had zero time to get involved in my community. Then I had a brief window of opportunity, in the mere month between when I finally finished my PhD and when I gave into Kurt’s cherished desire to have a condo for the winter, in which to think about how I might connect. I was talking to the people who were organizing the first large-scale community garden in my town. Then I just gave up on all that and tried to learn to be bi-platial.
I don’t have to be bi-platial anymore. I’ll be able to build four-season friendships with more than the very few people who have put up with my flakiness (you know who you are and I love you so much for your enduring faith in me). That thought makes me so happy that (“sentimental female” that I am) I’m sitting here crying just thinking about it. I want to work the earth side by side with my neighbors. I want to “break bread” with them. Hey, I just want to learn my neighbors’ names!
If I needed any more proof that I am “at home” with this decision, I got my proof this morning when I finally felt emotionally and physically stable enough to go out and nail a dawn run again. For the past three weeks I’d had to cut short every planned run for one odd reason or another — and I do think it has been related to stress. This morning I planned to run 4 miles, and I ran 4.01 miles smoothly, quickly (for me), painlessly, with pleasure, and without stress. I’m back (or so I hope!!!). Now I’ll need to focus on increasing the mileage for my long runs, as the PS half marathon is a mere five weeks away. I will only get in a few long runs now before it’s “taper time.” Maybe 6-8 miles this Sunday (my last long run in mid-December was 8.12 miles) and then 9+ once or twice in the second half of January, and that’s it. I don’t expect to run a lifetime PR in this race, as I’m not sure I’ll ever surpass the miracle that happened in Victoria last October, but I should smash my PR for THIS race by something like two minutes per mile. No small accomplishment, that.
So things are looking up, and getting better. I no longer have so much of that feeling of “two steps forward, one step back, three jostles sideways and — oops! — there’s another cliff I just went over.” It’s such a relief to feel, no matter how tentative, a semblance of solid ground beneath my feet. And the beginnings of a way forward. Traction… I could get used to this.