It's hard to believe it is November 14th already. It's amazing how my last birthday feels like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. On this day last year I was driving down forest service roads criss-crossing Northwest Florida crewing a loved one as he worked towards completing a 100 mile trail run. He won. We won. It was a shared victory and a wonderful and exciting way to spend my 28th birthday. This year as I sit in my apartment on a Monday morning in Vancouver and stare out at the gray rainy skies, I can't help but look back and reflect on all that has happened over the past year. Twenty-eight was a year of growth and change - some of it easy, some of it extremely difficult. I've always thought of birthdays as a personal New Years, and as with any approaching year, I'm excited to see what all this next one will bring.
That said, looking back and re-reading my thoughts on the day I turned 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28, I began to notice a pattern. I tend to approach each year with a very sit-back-and-see-what-happens mentality. This isn't necessarily a bad way to be, however this year I've decided to take a more proactive stance as there are so many big things I want to accomplish in this last year of my third decade. Not all of them are easy, but each of them holds a significant meaning to me. So without further ado, here is my short (not-all-encompassing) list of goals for this 29th year of my life:
- Complete a 50k. After years of crewing friends and loved ones on these epic journeys, it was only a matter of time before I got serious and decided to take on an ultra myself. I guess now is as good a time as any to get it done. I signed up. I have my 16 week training schedule. Now all that is left to do is run. March 25th is my date. Richland, Washington, here I come!
- Start work on another album. I realize it's been less than two months since "Virginia" was released, but in the 3 years since those songs were recorded, I've written nearly a hundred other tunes that I want to sort through and start laying down. I don't want to rush to put out another album just yet, rather I want to start working towards making the next one happen. With your help, I know it can be done. I'll have much more on this (and how you can help in the process) soon, I promise!
- Publish 3 scientific papers. 3 is the magic number I need in order to finish my PhD. I'm currently working on 2 papers now and I hope to have those submitted in the coming months. After that, I can focus on the final chapter of my dissertation. It's been a long time coming, but 29 is the year to put my head down and stay focused on finishing this degree. I've heard from so many that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I think I'm slowly starting to see it!
I must selfishly admit that I say all of these things not for you, but for myself. I'm a firm believer that when you write your goals down, say them out loud, and tell others, it gives a sense of accountability to get them done (and Lord knows I'm gonna need that in order to accomplish any of this).
I recently asked someone who was once very close to me for advice about how to train for a 50k. His response was incredibly insightful and something I plan to apply to all of the goals I've set out above. He told me, "Just be committed to it, it's mostly mental."
These words struck a chord with me. I'm not really one for mantras, but if ever I was to have one for the upcoming year, this may be it. Twenty-nine, I'm determined to make you a year of staying committed to what it is I want to accomplish. I'm determined to make you a year of getting past my own thoughts that all too often hold me back. Twenty-nine, I'm determined to make you a year of fearlessly dreaming big and doing everything I can to make those dreams a reality.
Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go call Mema and wish her a happy birthday. She's always been my most favorite of birthday buddies. I'm so thankful I get to share this day with her.
Here's to a year of staying committed to what I set out to do! Happy Monday, y'all!
ps: I've known for some time now the tune I wanted to post on this day. The National consistently brings me joy. You know I dreamed about you, for 29 years before I saw you. You know I dreamed about you, I missed you for 29 years...