28 July 2013

New Chapter

In April of this year, we went to Utah for Sean's first 100-miler. We found ourselves just outside of Zion National Park, where the air was cool and dry, the scenery was bad ass, and the people were calm and friendly. After six years in Mass, complete with morbid humidity, endless winters, and the most entitled people we'd ever met, we breathed a huge sigh of relief. We were home!

But not really. We were actually in limbo. Our hearts were in the west, but our home was still in Massachusetts. It was Remedy Time.

As soon as we got home, I decided to start looking for a job in the southwest. I looked around for about five minutes before realizing there weren't any jobs there. Next, I set my sights on California. The bay area has tons of jobs in my field, so I thought it would be trivial to land something out there.

At the same time, I started working with Nicole Antoinette's Goal Setting Formula. Nicole has put together a smart, sane map for figuring out what you want and how to get it. The Goal Setting Formula is a simple but powerful set of worksheets which makes you ask yourself the right questions, and then answer those questions, and then make shit happen.

We moved to Massachusetts from Washington exactly six years ago. We never actually wanted to move to Mass, but I was in the right place at the right time and got an amazing job with an amazing company. It was not the kind of thing you turn down. I thought we'd get used to it here, and we tried hard to fit in. We brought up our daughter here (from age 2 to 8). We bought a house in a small town we loved. I had the best job I'd ever had, working with people I genuinely liked. I did a lot of growing up here too. But Massachusetts never grew on us. We tolerated it because of all the things that were good about living here. But it never felt like home.

When I started the Goal-Setting Formula, I had to choose a theme for my next six months. I chose "gestate." My obsessive goal was to move to the west. I defined my life buckets, my non-obsessive goals, and I brainstormed all the steps I'd need to take to make my dreams a reality. Then I tracked my progress weekly.

One of my weekly goals was to apply for 10 jobs. I applied for 9, and couldn't find another one to apply to, so I found one in Washington and applied for that. We used to live there and it sounded fun to go back, but I didn't take it too seriously at first. They called and interviewed me a few times, and the people seemed great. Finally they flew me out for an interview.

It wasn't until I stepped off the plane in the airport that it really hit me. I was home! I'd interviewed in San Francisco too, and it was pleasant there, but it didn't feel like home. I wasn't sure the job was going to work out, but I was settled on Washington.

I did get the job. Then came the really hard part. I had to actually decide to leave my job. My job, which I told everyone was the best job I could ever imagine and I'd never leave. I agonized and cried and bargained and did all the crazy stuff you do when you aren't sure of a humongous life decision. I hardly ate or slept and spent all of my waking hours feeling anxious. My family was more than ready to head back to Washington, and I knew it was the right decision for me too, it was just incredibly difficult to make.

Almost as soon as I made the decision, I felt calm and excited for the next chapter. I've stopped crying at work every day and I can successfully talk about leaving my job without getting choked up. Progress!

We will leave a week from tomorrow, drive across the country in eight days, and I'll start my new job later in August. I'll have to bag all the races I've registered for out here, but there's a marathon in my new city in December! Hmm...

My gestation only took three months, as it turned out. I'm going to consider this Goal-Setting cycle complete, and I'm really looking forward to using it again as soon as I get settled. I haven't decided what my next obsessive goal will be, but I have a feeling it will be running-related!

10 July 2013

Another Boring Year

No, I'm not referring to my life in general. I'm referring to this:
Radiology Report, Excerpt

My neurologist says I still have to get an MRI every year. Yeah right. I've had like five of these boring radiology reports in a row. Three of those were after I quit my meds. As much as I enjoy the 3.2 minutes I spend with Dr. Toran every year, I may have to quit him too.

Maybe someday I'll have to think about MS again. But for now, while my brain is blissfully boring, I have better things to do. See ya.

track me

06 July 2013

Reading, Running in Big Sur, and a Brain Scan

A side effect of taking running less seriously is taking my running blog less seriously. It's been a busy few weeks and I've started writing with a pencil, on paper, which means less writing here. Last Thursday I flew out to San Francisco and visited my Big Sur friends Chuck and Erlinda. Being in Big Sur was amazing. The eucalyptus, the air, the light, the views. I had breakfast at Deetjen's, walked on Pfieffer Beach, and ran in Molera SP. It was a quick trip, but worth every minute. Big Sur hasn't changed much in ten years. They paved our old road, which used to be a 15-minute drive up a 1000-ft hill on a dusty dirt road. Now it's 10 minutes and dust-free.

Windblown me at the top of Clearidge
Since I got home on Jet Blue's Monday-Tuesday red-eye, I've been doing a lot of sleeping. I missed a couple of speed workouts, so I've been slowly catching back up with my training. Today I ran 6x400 at the track; a substantial 0:10 off my target mile pace on average, but it felt great to be back out there. I am also perfecting my "the-bathroom-is-closed-and-I-forgot-TP" technique. I'm a pro -- not at the actual running part, but I defy anyone to find a better cop-a-squatter.

Yesterday I had my yearly 2-hour MRI, and after dizzily climbing out of the claustrophobia-inducing casket, I had another one of my realizations, almost as good as the email one from a few weeks ago. Three years ago I quit my MS medication. I was happy to submit to the yearly MRIs because I wanted to avoid the meds, and I thought the neuro would be happy if he could see that my brain seemed stable. Anyway, I realized that I could quit MRIs, just like I quit meds. There hasn't been any change in my symptoms or my brain scans in over three years. Even better than quitting the MRIs; it seems like I can quit MS too.

Maybe the quitting realization was brought on by my recent speed-reading of the book The Man Who Quit Money. I am probably never going to drop out of society, but it is an irresistable thought. I tend to vacillate between ambition in the traditional theme-park sense, and a bowel-loosening urge to quit my job and plant bok choi in the desert. See, it's obvious why I keep my day job.

I also just finished Light in August, which was not my favorite of Faulkner's opera, but was a welcome departure from all the poorly written nonfiction I typically read. Two nights ago I found Infinite Jest on sale for $1.99 for Kindle, so I'm reading that now. It reads like a Wes Anderson movie; I can hear the soundtrack to Rushmore in my head while I'm reading, which is not unpleasant.

Maple wants me to "make clothes" with her. Today's installment: we'll turn tissue paper into colorful frocks for her dolls. And then I'll take a nap. Sean will be home soon with kitty litter made from corn, and garbage bags. It's a fine Saturday afternoon, made ever finer by the two days of vacation that preceded it.