2016 seems to have been a pretty trying year for everyone. Beloved stars died. I mean, really beloved, ones that were iconic across generations that hit hard, one right after another. We suffered through a nasty election season with a crazy plot twist at the end. More me-centric, I had some really rough races, big shakeups at work, and have had to really push myself to grow a bit after some harsh realizations about stagnation. I probably have had my share of alcohol this year to wash down the bitter taste of many things.
However, let’s look at the bright side.
Still wear hoops and chokers. Not THAT much has changed.
I just renewed my passport, and here are my pictures, a decade apart. In 2006, I was at my highest weight (probably about 265 lbs? I dunno – I didn’t really frequent scales at the time…). I was working 100 hour weeks and probably making just over a third of what I do now. I barely fit in a size 24. Running was something I would do only if chased, I hadn’t been on a bike since probably age 12, and I got tired walking around my apartment complex. I always loved swimming, though. That’s something that never changed.
At that point in my life, I would have been thankful for a job opportunity that challenged me and let me take a crash course in video game management and direction, one that would help me learn how to do it on a much larger scale later. I worked the hours I did because I loved it. Like, with a passion of ten thousand fiery suns. Just like Icarus, though, fly too close to the sun and your wings melt. My wings would melt within 6 months of that passport being issued, and passion turned to resentment when I started looking elsewhere to live and be employed.
The difference between this picture and the one above it is totally camera angles. And a 110 lb weight loss, of course.
I would have been thankful for Zliten. He also looked a mess (he is SO happy to get rid of his passport picture too), but we were a mess together. At that point, we had talked about getting married and I was for it eventually, but I wasn’t into a whole big wedding thing looking as I did then. That, plus the actual size of the jeans I had to buy, kick started my weight loss efforts just two months after I got that passport.
I would have been thankful for living in beautiful San Diego with perfect weather and beaches and sun. I can’t deny that it’s the most PERFECT place I’ve ever lived climate-wise, and I miss the ocean and the wonderful balance between humid and dry you can only get in a lush desert beach area. However, 2006 loved the IDEA of outside, but in practice, as you can see from my pale skin, I spent most of my time indoors. At that weight, it was hard not to be a sweaty betty even just walking around, and as anyone who lives in a tourist beach town with regular weekday job hours will attest to, if you can’t play hookey to go to the beach, it’s typically not worth the hassle.
I would have been thankful for the awesome Mexican food. The combo plate with a fried beef taco, cheese enchilada, rice and beans and the iconic red sauce you can’t find anywhere around here. I still miss that stuff sometimes, but Austin is pretty much the capital of TACO so there’s a lot of choices, even if I still dream about the gas station with the taco shop near our apartment. There was alsoTogos and the sandwich nazi and the deli and some other places that probably wouldn’t hold up in reality but still were favorites in my mind.
I get to live within 10 miles of here! I mean, that doesn’t suck…
Flash forward ten years. I still can’t believe it’s been that long. Next June, Austin will house a decade of my life, which is the longest I’ve lived somewhere since I grew up in Chicago-land as a kid. While I dream about living nearer to the ocean, living somewhere a little more runnable in the summer (Oregon, Seattle?), somewhere a little more bike friendly (Boulder) and escaping somewhere tropical in the winter (Florida, Bonaire?), I can’t put my finger on anywhere else I’d pick for a permanent home at the moment.
I am thankful for Zliten. While I’m thankful for many, many things about Zliten, I’m particularly thankful that we became completely different people together. We went from eating, sleeping, and living video games above all else to finishing multiple marathons and 70.3 races, and if all goes well, we’ll be Ironpeople in April. He may have not been super thrilled when I started doing run races (it’s so eaaaarly, we both said, when we had to be at my first 5k for a start time of ELEVEN AM), but eventually he wanted to see what the fuss was about and got hooked (maybe even more than me). We are very changed people, but thankfully, we changed and grew together.
I am thankful for my house, most days. It’s called Casa De Jank because a 50 year old house definitely isn’t a dream to maintain, but it’s OUR weird house with character that is full of clutter and crazy art and drawings on the walls and a smiley face painted in the bathroom from when we moved in and never painted over it. It may need some love to fit into our half-the-houses-have-been-flipped-in-the-last-five-years neighborhood, but we’ll get to that when it’s time.
I may HATE the color of the brick, but I love a lot about my house (and life) here in Austin.
I’m thankful for Austin being this really cool, relaxed, friendly city, for the most part. When questionable men aren’t yelling and throwing things at me on my bike and when the traffic isn’t RIDIC, of course. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite places I’ve lived because of the people. Everyone wants to be your friend. I’ve never been around groups of people that were more inclusive “yep, the more the merrier”, all the time. and really meant. I love it!
I am thankful for racing. I’m coming up on my 100th race soon, and you don’t pay to do something a hundred times that you don’t love. Once I lost all the weight, I knew I needed *some* reason to continue to go to the gym and continue to be a reasonably healthy person and not gain all the weight back because whiskey and french fries are awesome. I can balance my miles logged vs my tacos logged and try to maintain some level of stasis. Also, for some reason, I thought once I left high school and college behind, there was nothing out there for adults to indulge their competitive sides. Totally not the case! I love the atmosphere, I love the challenge, I love the training, and I love the friends I’ve made doing it.
Team we Tri’d. Or Team Tri. Team Race All the Things. 😉
I’m thankful for many other things, but I’m also thankful for having a job, even if it’s been crazy lately, so I need to cut it short(er than I normally would).
And I am thankful that I get the chance to continue evolving as a person! Life is cool! Who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll look like when I renew my passport next, but I’m looking forward to spending the next 10 years finding out.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!