Don’t Stop Believing

2016/2017 My Year of Believing


One year ago I ran the New York Marathon for the first time.  That weekend started my year of getting off of the couch.   That had nothing to do with exercise, but rather learning to thrive versus surviving.  I had come to realize that my life was being consumed with school, volunteer work, and hiding.  I ran from anything that scared me.  Through the closing of my eyes and taking a leap of faith, pushing myself, and trusting myself, I found myself and I began to thrive in ways I could never have foreseen.  Though I took many risks through 2015-2016, three choices stand out for all they taught me.


I travelled to China alone, not knowing anyone, and conquered a giant wall.  To understand how scared I was, I never saw myself taking a vacation alone, going to a country where every bit of the language is beyond my comprehension, and to run that wall?  Well, it meant digging deep on every level.  I completed my bucket list in China and found that my year of thriving started something else—hope.  Hope in what lies ahead.


2015/2016 brought me taking a risk that I never thought I would take again.  I let someone into my heart.  While the relationship did not work out, I will be forever thankful that this person showed me that I am capable of loving someone else and that there is room in my heart to feel that deeply.  I didn’t entertain dating before that because I couldn’t imagine whether or not I could not compare, feel guilt, or fully expose my heart.  I discovered how much richer my life can be with the right person in it and I am confident enough now to weather the storms.  Before?  I was scared of my own shadow.  I was scared of getting it wrong.  This relationship didn’t work out, but it wasn’t the end of the world.  I am awake, alive, and pressing on whether there is someone in my life or not.


The third choice and the biggest area of thriving was in the decision to apply for a job in Missouri, Colorado, and Washington.  When all three jobs were offered to me, the only one that felt right was Missouri.  I have never lived in this state and I rarely have been there.  I am going to a job I haven’t done and one that scares me a little.  I see something though.  I have a big story that the military responds well to.  I have used it to promote positive coping strategies, but why not use it with the at risk soldiers/families?  Why not use it to show that while we cannot control the cards we are dealt, we can choose how we want to play them?


Colorado still feels like home, but when looking at my choices, I innately knew that I would never be able to separate out my story from my work.  There is a difference.  I will never forget Phil and I will always love that man, but I know with every bit of my being, that he would want more for me.  I want more for me.  I want to see if there can be a Chapter Two.  I want to see if I can have a social network that doesn’t always include people I knew from my past as a couple.  So while Colorado is truly my heart, I gave up my dream to thrive and to stand strong alone hoping against all hope.


Washington was the dream we shared for retirement.  Missouri is my dream.  My dream.  For whatever reason, I believe that amazing awaits.  Nobody really knows me.  My brother and his family do, of course, but it is more than that.  I bought a house and I am investing my heart, finances, and trust that this is my True North.  Yes, I will work and continue to use my voice for military issues and for the families that are unable to talk, but this is about believing and saying yes to life.


2016/2017 started at the New York Marathon yesterday.  It is my year of believing in self and what lies ahead.  To understand what this means, one must understand that when my name is called or when I am scared, I shut down and I run and hide.  Sometimes I give up pieces of myself because I am afraid to speak up or stand up for myself.  I realized that in August of this year.  It is time.  It is time for me to have faith in me and in who I am and what I stand for.  I do not need to apologize for who I have changed into or for the soft generous heart I have, but it is the moment that I believe in my instincts, dreams, hopes, and the destination.  I am taking another leap of faith as I cannonball into a dark ravine trusting that there will be hands that will reach if I fall too far as I move to MO to take a job that I have never done far from my friends.  I don’t have a network there, but my brother’s family is there for now.  The difference between 2011 and 2016/2017 is that I know amazing awaits and that what lies ahead is unfolding.    I trust in my heart and I trust in my voice.  2016/2017….my year of believing.





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