There's a post in my drafts I'll never publish. I wrote it back in June, when a friend of mine unexpectedly passed away.
Between late May and mid-June, I had taken some time off running. My mind wasn't in the right place and I was struggling through a depressive episode. Then, just as I was coming out of it — this news. This terrible sucker-punch.
This friend was a runner — that's how we met — and I ran a couple miles in her honor. In that moment, I felt a distinct shift.
I had been feeling unfulfilled, putting too much emphasis on external validation and finding it lacking, and somehow this tragedy shifted things back into focus. Like the final hard slap that gets a stuttering machine back in sync.
What are Instagram likes in the face of this kind of devastation?
She became my first thought every morning. She seemed to sit on my shoulder all day long, constantly putting things in perspective. Her presence was both comforting and heavy.
It was here, in this emotional state, in this mental place, that I finally got some clarity.
I got back to running. I got back to therapy. I made a schedule. I stuck with it. I explored some new things to help me find joy again. I dedicated myself to running and Peloton — rides and strength workouts — and finally found the courage to join the running group I'd been watching from afar for nearly a year.
I met a few women I connected with. We started running together outside the running group. I think this may be my first friend group in Seattle.
My silence has extended beyond this blog. I took a huge step back from Instagram and rediscovered internal validation — that wonderful, lifegiving feeling of doing literally anything for its own benefit alone. I stopped posting my workouts and focused instead on doing what I'm doing for me.
It's been a weird six months, on top of the weird year that came before. But here's what I know: I feel strong. I feel grateful. I feel hopeful. And, most importantly, I feel like myself again.
One thing I've really been working on in therapy is rediscovering myself. Whether this is typical of adulthood or not, the truth is that I lost myself over the years. I spent so much time working — taking my work home with me literally and figuratively — that I fell into a routine that left no room for spontaneity or exploration.
I was forced to acknowledge that I link my self-worth to my work, that I defined myself by my job, and — simply put — that made me incredibly sad. I am not my job. None of us are.
Now, I love having a job I can leave behind me at the end of the day; when I close my laptop I am truly done until the next morning. That's invaluable. It allows me to feel productive and useful at work while leaving time and mental energy to do other things.
So, where have I been? I guess I've been in hibernation, doing some work behind the scenes to prepare myself for whatever comes next. I feel the best I have in a long time, and I'm only going to continue getting better.