Thursday, January 1, 2015

Carrying Hope into 2015


2014

I'm so glad to have waved good-bye to 2014. I have very few fond memories from the past twelve months, but some years are best forgotten.  At least most of the bad moments in there. 

It's been a tough year.  In many ways, my toughest.  And when I reached the year's end yesterday, the first thing I thought was that it was a miracle I survived it.  I know those words sound melodramatic, but for me, at the time, they don't even begin to capture how torn apart my soul has felt this year after everything I experienced.

I know 2015 will be a different story.  It has to be.  Because I feel like I hit rock bottom in 2014.  It was a year of more heartbreak than happiness.  True rock bottom is a firm boundary, comforting in its limits that at least appear to mean things can't get worse.  Of course I haven't truly hit rock bottom. Things can always be worse. But pain is pain.  And the lowest you've ever been becomes the newest rock bottom, because it's the worst you've known.  I have had many dark moments in my 51 years of life - many of those when I was just a kid.  So maybe rock bottom isn't the right word, because when I reflected on the year, these were the first fleeting thoughts that came to mind about the year....

I lost one of the closest loves I've ever had. I found some new trail friends. I enjoy running with them more than I'll ever admit to anyone.  I miss my old running friends.  I ran the Leadville Marathon.  My boys graduated from high school.  Ryan set some amazing running PRs. That kid went to Montana for college on a track and academic scholarship.  My feelings were hurt, many times.  I sat on my shower floor many times with tears streaming ... until all the hot water was gone. I ran a 50k on my 51st birthday - and smiled the entire day.  I spent a weekend with my daughter in Salida (where I ran a horrible race) and we ate dinner at a gas station in the middle of nowhere (Southpark) and still laugh so hard whenever we bring it up. I understood depression a whole lot better. I had a job I absolutely loved. Because I had the best manager - who soon became a good friend - that I ever had. I drank some great beers.  And ate some outstanding Mexican food.  I lost a friend to alcoholism.  Her car temporarily sits in front of my house as a daily reminder that life is short.  I learned there are many senseless thing you can live without (television, for one).  Brendan plays the piano for me every night and it melts my heart. I climbed about 176k vertical feet.  I ran exactly 2014 miles.  And 17 races. Many of them I'd classify as pathetic, but every one taught me something about myself - and some were even fun.  I had my first DNF - and I didn't wither away like I always envisioned I would. I took on a walk-to-run 5k program for new runners and beamed with pride of their accomplishments. I registered for the Boston Marathon in 2015.  I had some amazing conversations with some incredible friends. I have friends who just refuse to give up on me. I never cease to wonder what I did to deserve their friendships.  I learned it's okay to be sad sometimes, we deserve time with our emotions.  I coached some incredible athletes.  I found things to be grateful for that I never imagined I could be.  My daughter aced her math GRE. I explored new adventures on trails I'd never run before.  Where I found some amazing geological gems.  And momentary peace.  I learned public assistance doesn't mean someone's a bad person. Or lazy.  I learned everyone has their own demons.  I learned not all lawyers are scum.  I learned never to judge anyone, for you never know what anyone is going through. I found a new running coach. In my backyard, practically.  He hasn't dumped me yet.  He lost his free ticket to do so so he's stuck with me for the year.  I spent a couple days in Dallas with one of my longest, dearest friends.  He spoiled me rotten.  And we shared some great words.  I slept the best I ever slept all year there.  And I ran one of the most consistently-paced marathons of my life.  I learned not to be afraid of things I once was.  I learned I am a pretty fierce fighter, if I can just calm all the clutter in my head.  

And I learned to find peace with 2014.

People call the struggles and heartache "growing pains" when there's not much you can do about it. Labels like this are suppose to sooth us into the relief that the hurt we feel isn't novel. It's not unprecedented for humanity.  It's all part of the game - a necessary part, probably.

When we look back over the year, or decade, or our whole lives, we wax nostalgic.  We say things like, "I wouldn't trade the lessons for anything."  But in the lesson-learning moments, BLAH.  Sometimes we would trade the experience for anything.  Who is right?  Is it the version of myself who feels that pain or the later version who only remembers it?  It's easy to assume that the present version of yourself knows better than any version that came before.  But try telling someone who is suffering tragedy now that what they are experiencing is a totally good thing.

If they'll listen, the only power that will get them to believe what you say is HOPE.  Because a promise that the tragedy isn't unprecedented, or unexpected, and maybe even necessary, doesn't take the sting away.  It just helps you believe that the sting might go away later to be replaced with something more pleasant.

Hope is just a prologue to gratitude.  It's good fortune that hasn't yet been fertilized by time and perseverance.  It's the optimistic simile of platitude.  I chose "optimistic" because unlike platitudes, hope has teeth.

Hope.

It's what's powered me through this year of heartache.  And more importantly, it's what has made that year of heartache full of happy moments.  I think hope is what got me through this year and because of what I saw it do, so it's what I'll carry into the next.

So excited that the new year is a chance for fresh beginnings. I'm looking forward to uncovering what lies ahead in the next 364 days, what Boston will bring me and the marathons beyond that - and working with my new coach.  I can't promise I'll fire this blog back up regularly in 2015, but maybe more than the 4 times I wrote in 2014. There's always hope, huh? 

Happy New Year, my friends.  Run strong!

Starting off the New Year with a little vertical, with new and old friends (and Ryan :))....





31 comments:

Lynn said...

Amen, sister. 2014 can go away. Here's to a better year.

Raina R. said...

Well, Jill. I feel like i have lots to catch up with you on. There's a ton in this post and even more between the lines.
I'm glad to see you fire the blog up, even if it doesn't happen again for a month.
I'm so very happy there are some happy moments in there for you! You deserve them!

Gracie said...

Here's to a better 2014. I don't know all you dealt with in the past year, but I hope things have started to improve and that you have bright days ahead.

Adrienne said...

2015: the year 2014 becomes a distant memory. May this one bring the needed peace.

Cheers!

Mike Ransick said...

Happy New Year Jill. Sorry you had a rough year but I'm glad you were able to see the bright spots too. Here's to a better 2015 and beyond!

Pahla Bowers said...

So happy to see a post again, even if it's just once in awhile! May 2015 bring you peace and much-deserved joy!

John F. said...

Some great wisdom in here Jill. Really proud of the progress you have made in 2014. So excited for all the things 2015 will bring you. Let's Run!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I am with you, I hope to forget about 2014. I hope 2015 you experience all that you look forward to. Stay strong my friend.

ShutUpandRun said...

What you wrote is a wonderful "tribute" to what sounds like a very tough year. I appreciate your honesty about the good and the challenging. There is so much insight in your writing. Take care my friend and I hope to share some runs (and beers) with you in 2015.

Char said...

Beautifully said. My hope is that 2014 will never be repeated for either of us and that 2015 will be so much better.

Amanda@runninghood said...

Wow Jill. So much here that has me thinking and nodding my head with Yes. Much i'd say if we were in person and I don't have time for a long comment but I did read every bit of this. Thank you for your words..your insights...so beautifully said here. So much of it.

"I learned it's okay to be sad sometimes, we deserve time with our emotions." Yes
" I learned not to be afraid of things I once was. I learned I am a pretty fierce fighter, if I can just calm all the clutter in my head. " Again, yes.

My favorite: "...hope has teeth."

My 2014 was interesting for sure. Definitely some heartache and some struggles that I didn't always put into words. I stopped journaling lots. I stopped sharing as much. I stuffed things. Lots of happiness too...this made all the heart ache and the dark sides even more confusing for me. As if I had no right to feel certain ways when so much was so good. Complicated. Raw. But I'm hopeful that 2015 is going to be one where so much is capped off, lessons are learned, and I can move forward with peace....

I'm so glad you blogged. And I'm even more glad that I read ( I don't always get to my blog roll these days...rarely really).

ajh said...

Jill,
I am so sorry you had such a tough year. You had many great things to say in here. One that jumped out was being on public assistance ......True words. There are so many ups and downs in a year. I tend to bury my head and pay attention to the ups. But it's not okay to ignore those who are down and need help even when one feels so helpless to help them. I so hope your 2015 brings you more joy.
Andrea

Robin said...

You know I can relate in so many ways, 2013 was like that for me. 2014 was better but not the best, and 2015 holds promise. I hope that this is the case for you. You are a tough cookie and I have been truly inspired by you. You are always supportive and hope that you feel that way in return. From those close and from afar! I wish you nothing but the best for 2015. Boston is a great race to renew hope that's for sure! Hugs to you my friend :)

SupermomE12 said...

Big hugs my friend!!! It seems like 2014 was just a brutally tough year for so many of us. 2014 kicked my butt on just about every level. Heartbreak, parenting challenges, financial challenges, running injuries and bad races, etc. etc. etc. I am so hoping that 2015 brings happiness and peace.

You are beautiful inside and out. Wish we lived closer and could go for a run. BIG HUGS and lots of love,
E

Colorado Gal said...

Here's to a beautiful (and better) 2015 for you!

Beth said...

I am so sorry to hear that 2014 was such crap for you. Mine wasn't super awesome either so bring on a better 2015. I am going to Boston too (my hubby is racing, not my turtle butt)

Will said...

Such an honest post. thanks for putting it all out there. I hope this year brings you many wonderful times (in running AND life). Have a blast in Boston, and next time you dine at a gas station take some pics for us!

One Crazy Penguin said...

Well said, girlie! I'm sorry to hear that 2014 was such a rough year, but 2015 has big things in store for you! You did the best thing that you could thoug....you took it and learned and grew from it. And I can selfishly say that I hope it brings me back to Denver so I can see you again!

M @readeatwriterun said...

It is so good to see your blog alive again!

What a moving post. It rings so very true. I'm sorry for your pain and troubles but am so impressed with all your focus and remembering of the positive. I love "hope has teeth".

Like someone else said, I tend to try to focus on the good and forget the bad, but for 2014 had some of each - pretty high highs and some fairly low lows and a few scares. Overall, I'll take it. Right now, 2015 has had a rough start for me in one important area, and I'm a little scared at where things may be going. But your post reminds me there is always good even when there's bad, and I need to seek it out, celebrate it and create it!

I hope 2015 brings you much more good than bad, laughter, love, friends and great runs. I'll be at Boston for the first time this year! Maybe we'll see each other.

Jenny said...

Beatifully written! I will not miss 2014 one bit! Here's to a better 2015! :) <3

Black Knight said...

Sorry to read what happened to you but now 2014 is in the past. You are right but when I got into the troubles I was tired to listen always: "Things can always be worse" because "THINGS CAN ALWAYS BE BETTER"!!!!
I am glad you are back to Blogland. Best wishes Jill.

Kandi said...

Sounds like a tough year for sure. Your words are lovely though and full of wisdom. I hope you are able to write more this year but most importantly, I hope you find more peace in 2015.

Brian said...

Here's hoping for a better, more peaceful 2015. Happy New Year.

Cory Reese said...

The eating dinner at a gas station comment caused an involuntary snort of laughter.

I look up to you and your perspective and everything you've accomplished and the person you are.

I have a hunch 2015 will be amazing for you.

Karen said...

Yes, to 2015!!!! And we get another chance to meet up: Boston! This time we need to make it happen, girlie. ;)

Teamarcia said...

I'm so embarrassed it took me a zillion years to see this and you had to tell me you posted. We need to catch up. It breaks my heart to read the pain in your words but wow you wrote it so beautifully. 2015 will be better. So much better. Big hugs to you my tenacious, resilient beautiful friend!

bobbi said...

What a tough and painful and beautiful and joyful year you had. I hope that 2015 has all the joy and none of the pain.

And I am super excited to see you again :)

Johann said...

I shamefully admit that I only read this post now... Happy New Year Jill!!! :) At least via FB I follow quite closely what you are up to. My blogging is also far and in between with me not running many races at the moment. And this stupid sore leg of mine... It's basically telling me I am almost 52 and not 25. Stay strong my friend.

Andy said...

Thank you for writing the most honest from the heart piece I have read this year. I for one really won't care how many times you post this year if every one has this depth of thought behind it. Here's to a fabulous 2015 :-D

Ps. sorry it took so long to find your post.

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