It’s been a while, friends. I know. The great news is that I actually took a vacation (which I promised myself I would unplug as much as possible) and started a new job. It’s been a fantastic transition, and I’m so thrilled to start this new adventure.
But, of course, starting anew after over a decade of predictability and stability was certainly a risk. A calculated one, no less, but a risk. I had spent over 16 years working in higher education and building a solid career. With this move to secondary and elementary education, I was leaving familiar waters, familiar boat mates, and familiar routes. But, I had never imagined how tired my soul was until I arrived at my new job. Within three weeks, I have felt a renewed sense of spirit, of community, and of hope. I didn’t know it was even missing.
For the past few months, I have been regularly waking up at 4:45am and meeting my running buddies to start our day with a commitment to ourselves. While I still sluggishly roll out of bed and fumble around for my sneakers in the dark, I always feel better during and after my run than when I started. Most days, we head up to an empty parking lot where I bring my dog, KoD. In that lot, I let KoD run off leash and he just takes off (KoD spends most of the day laying on the couch or walking around our small, fenced-in yard. It’s strange to say this, but nothing brings me more joy on those mornings than seeing my dog sprint back and forth across the parking lot — his legs whipping underneath his small body, the tags on his collar jiggling as he picks up his pace, and his ears perked up ready and alert.
At 5:00am, the world is still quiet. The birds are not quite chirping. My busy street is empty. And I can hear the sound of my cushioned sneakers striking the pavement.
But, one sound I do not like is the sound of rain.
I hate rain.
I hate running in rain.
In fact, I don’t run in the rain.
Last night, my running buddies and I did our usual check in. This time, however, it included: “So, if it’s raining, you know it’s an automatic rest day, right? Let’s check-in in the morning and call it.”
5:05am: it’s not raining. But the sky is a thick grey and the sun can’t seem to rise behind the clouds.
“Yes? No? It’s not raining now but will eventually downpour soon,” I typed into my phone.
“It’s your call,” she replied. “If I say yes, it will pour. If I say no, it won’t rain at all.”
“Damn it,” I texted back. “Let’s just do it.”
For most of the run, I focused on the sky, wondering when I would be caught in the storm. It is going to rain? Am I too far from home? How messed up will my clothing/phone/watch be in this rain? How smelly will my dog be after being caught in the storm?
In the middle of the run, the clouds seemed to disappear. The sun finally made it’s way into the sky. The air felt cleaner. I felt stronger.
As I rounded the corner, I saw this beautiful sunrise.
And I thought about how much we miss when we never take a risk.
Peace, love, and dry clothes,