Monday, February 27, 2017

In the Middle Years

There have been several times in the nearly six(!) years I've been writing this blog where I've considered changing the name. Maybe something like 'I Brunch These Towns' or 'I Have Crohn's and Sometimes Run These Towns'. My love for running and cities has not waned even a little, but I've been sidelined by some life distractions that have made traveling and running more challenging. I feel like I haven't explored a new city in months (because I haven't.) I'm definitely in need of my urban explorer fix. And I am definitely ready to get back into a running training schedule. 

At the beginning of the year I was super excited to do less traveling for a few months and get more rest. I was looking forward to slowing down. Here we are knocking on the door of March, and I've been gone for one weekend this entire year to visit my family in Virginia. It turns out one weekend isn't enough. I'm losing my mind.

We're remedying that this weekend with a quick trip to New Orleans. I'm heading to Austin the first weekend in April to celebrate a good friend's birthday. We're going to Richmond, Virginia (one of my favs) in June for our cousin's wedding. Currently those are the only trips solidly on the calendar, and it makes me antsy.  

I have two races on the calendar: a 10k and a 5k in March. I want to do a half marathon in April, but I want to give myself a few more weeks to heal before making a decision to register for anything. The level of restlessness I feel by not having tangible running and travel goals is palpable.

At the age of 38 I am firmly ensconced in what my therapist calls "the middle years". In your twenties there are so many firsts to look forward to: graduating from college, first jobs, falling in grown up love, getting married, buying a house, getting a dog, having children. The firsts pile up, and there are so many things to anticipate. Then in your late 30s and early 40s life hits you. The firsts are gone, and life can be hard. Honestly sometimes life can be boring. I hate saying that because I love my life, but it's true. I've discovered after several months of weekends stretched out looking for things to do that sometimes it's boring. Toddlers are hard work, and sometimes days feel interminable. Occupying a small human becomes its own task.

Love this photo of my toddler wishing he was an old man.
I love being busy, and a trip to Target after nap is only good for one or two weekends before I'm losing my mind. We've had great dinners with friends and I feel entirely caught up on house projects and shows on our DVR. Life is wonderful, but I feel antsy. One of the reasons we travel so often and I run so much is to break up the monotony of grocery shopping, laundry and work.

I make a conscious effort to appreciate all of the joy in my life, and I feel guilty admitting that sometimes the day to day is monotonous. I love snuggling with my son on the couch while we watch a movie. I love sharing cocktails with my husband after our son goes to bed while we talk about our days. I love having dinner with our friends or meeting a girlfriend for coffee. I love (usually) slugging out a run on the Lansing River Trail. These every day tasks are filled with joy, but sometimes I need a little change of scenery. Sometimes I need a little public transit, a new park to explore, different restaurants and a museum if I'm lucky. Sometimes I need to lace up my running shoes and check out an entirely unfamiliar city with fresh eyes.

Even if one appreciates them the middle years can be tough. I'm raising a little cityphile who loves traveling. He's obsessed with any mode of transportation, so it's easy to get him psyched about airplanes, buses and trains. I'm looking forward to exploring NOLA with my little dude while his dad is at a conference. In the middle years I remind myself that days may be long, but years are short. We get this small amount of time where we're young, healthy(ish in my case), and have the joy of a young child. I will take the potential (and real) monotony of the middle years and turn it on its head. Here's to the middle years!

A virtual toast with my girlfriends. When did I get crow's feet?!?

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