Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Holiday, You Bastard! 2015

As you probably know, every year on Thanksgiving I write a what-I'm-thankful-for blog, complete with a list of, well, things for which I'm especially thankful. This year will be no different, not only because as a Capricorn (on the cusp of Aquarius like Buffy if you must know (and you must. I insist)) I'm really fond of routines but also because when I stop and think about it--or actually don't stop, but run and think about it because that's usually when I do this sort of thinking--I really do have so much to be thankful for, even if it feels pretty much the opposite a lot of the time.

And so because Thanksgiving is dangerously close to being over:

Things That I'm Thankful For, 2015

1. Griffin and Keifer and the little family unit that is us. I'm often pretty thankful for this one--though admittedly, I'm often not--and am sure I've mentioned it before, but last week at The Wonder Years concert, my appreciation for them, for us, for the way we fit together just hit me so hard. The band was playing The Devil in My Bloodstream, a song that drives Griffin to tears every time he hears it, and although his irrationally emotional reaction to The Wonder Years has become a joke to all of us, it's also kind of rubbed off on us, too, and so, the second Dan uttered the words, "We wiped out all the buffalo," I pushed my way through the crowd to Keifer, who put his around me, and we both grabbed Griffin's hand and there we stood, the three of us holding on to each other in the midst of the madness. In less than two years Griffin will be gone, and in just about four Keifer will be, too, but moments like that will be with me for the rest of my life.

2. My summer with C. Okay, so maybe things ended badly again (sixth time is a charm?), but before it did, to play around with the tense of some Front Bottoms' lyrics, when I was sad, I was sad, but oh God, when I was happy, I was happy. There's not much to say about this--okay, that's not true, there's so much to say about this, but it's not going to be said--but I will say, is there anything better than waking up next to the person you love?

3. Alex. For those of you who don't know, Alex is Griffin's girl, and she came at a time when he really, really needed her to come. I'm thankful for Alex because of the happiness she brings to Griffin, and isn't seeing the people you love find happiness what life is really about?

4. Kat, Kevin, Chad and the Halloween party they didn't want me to find out about. I'll spare you all the details, but I was enmeshed in the middle of some real live high school drama at the end of October. It was super hurtful, yes, and while I'm not thankful for the pain, in retrospect, I am thankful for the incident. Sometimes something really big is necessary to push us in the right direction. This was that necessary something big.

5. The Summer of Run.

6. My new found independence.

7. Manic Panic.

8. My car. Mermaid is her name, getting me wherever I want to go is her game. Actually, though, now that I think about it, it's not just Mermaid, it's cars in general--whether it be The Black Bullet, Foxy, The Green Goblin, or a rental car, cars have always gotten me where I needed to be. This summer, it was a rental that took me up the entire East Coast, on Tuesday it was Mermaid who took me to Orlando to see The Front Bottoms and Real Friends. Without reliable transportation, my life would be so much different than it's now turning out to be, which brings me to

9. The way my life is turning out to be. My life is different now--as if you didn't know--but not just in a now-I'm-divorced kind of way. It's different in an I'm-finally-living-my-life kind of way. Like the summer of 2014 when I drove to Savannah because I'd just seen Forrest Gump and wanted to see the bench where most of the movie takes place? And this summer, the way I drove to Boston just because I wanted to? And last week, when I went to The Wonder Years and went in the pit? And Tuesday, the way I drove to Orlando because I wanted to see two shows? The old me, the pre-Kismet me, wanted to do a lot of things, sure, but rarely did them. Now, the post-Kelly Kis? She realizes life is meant to be lived, not looked up on a computer, which brings me to

10. Real Friends, who actually kind of changed my life. As we all know, the songs we grow to like never stick at first, which is how it was with Real Friends, but they mean a crazy amount to me now. When the summer ended and with it, so did my pseudo relationship with C, their lyrics just became so relevant, which led to me listening to them more and more, which led to me finding the song Monday, which led to number 9, the way my life is turning out to be (see it? Right before number 10?).

11. Katie. One, not many people get me, but my cousin Katie does one-hundred percent, and two, I think family is super important, and I love that I have an actual relationship with someone in mine.

12. Shout (the stain zapper, not the song). I am such a fucking slob.

13. The feeling I get when a kid opens up to me or says something about how nice it is that my students feel comfortable talking to me. I think we all know teaching isn't one of my favorite things in the world, but forging relationships with kids who need adults to care about them is.

14. Sarcasm. It's supposedly the lowest form of wit, but I'd barely open my mouth without it. If that makes me low, well then consider me low.

15. Just washed pillow cases and sheets.

16.  Perfume.

17. Dental floss. Although I think it's completely ridiculous that with technology we still have to do it, I like that I can.

18. My pink glasses. (If only you knew.)

19. Heather, and no, I don't mean the one I'm related to. About a month or so ago, my refrigerator broke. Water was everywhere, and although it wouldn't stop coming out, I couldn't tell where it was coming from. I tried to order a new fridge only to find that one couldn't be delivered for days. At my wit's end, panic mode started setting in pretty badly. Through the whole ordeal, though, and the ordeal went on for hours, Heather (figuratively) stayed by my side. Through a series of texts and videos, she was able to teach me what to do to stop the leaking, not only leading to no more water, but to happiness due to no more water, which ultimately led to a feeling of empowerment that I don't often feel.

20. The people at Trader Joe's. They make me feel so loved.

21. Internet dating sites like OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish for showing me exactly how I don't want to meet a guy which leads me to

22. The guys who want me. I might not want them back, but it's nice to know I'm wanted.

23. My birth control pills. This one's a love/hate. I hate some of the things they do to me. I love knowing exactly when I'm going to get my period and getting it for only three days.

24. My crazy obsession with running to the dermatologist at the drop of a hat. People think I'm insane, but if it weren't for my obsession, I'd have a pre-cancerous dot on my collarbone, and everyone knows what comes after pre.

25. My education. The doors, people. The doors!

26. Finishing my book! Yes, I still have to revise it, but after six years of hemming and hawing, the first draft is finally done!

27. Orgasms.

28. Growth. I'm changing so much as a person, and I love it. I used to not want to change; I thought I was fine the way that I was. I wasn't. I was grumpy, I was judgmental, and I was just an all-around cantankerous cunt. I'm finding, in my ever-growing wisdom, that life is so much better when we're nice.

29. Dancing. Few things make me feel as good (but if you're looking for something that does, see number 27).

30. What seems to be an inability to completely grow up. Call me immature, call me inappropriate, call me stunted, call me weird. Call me whatever you want because when it comes to this, I really don't care. From the outside, I know it doesn't seem normal for someone my age to look and act like me, and maybe it's not, but from the inside, it looks great. I love that I can see things from different perspectives, that I feel and act like I'm in my twenties, and that I have the friends that I do. I love that rather than conform to the standards of society, I'm who I really want to be.

And with that, readers who I love so much, I bid you a Happy Thanksgiving--okay, technically it's not Thanksgiving anymore, but Kismet Wisdom says it's not a new day until you wake up after having gone to sleep--and wish you all love and peace.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

One Maniac at a Time

I suppose calling November my nemesis wouldn't really be accurate since it's a month, and a month can't technically be one's enemy, but if it were a person, I'd want to punch it in its face. As you may or may not know, November and I have a not-so-happy history that goes way back, a not-so-happy history that as October came to an end, seemed destined to repeat itself once again. Tonight, though, I decided that's not going to happen. Tonight I decided I'm taking back November.

Really, despite having made the decision tonight, the movement to reclaim the month started on Sunday. Okay, kind of on Saturday, but not entirely.

An explanation, of course:

I spent last weekend in Gainesville chaperoning a field trip for debate. On Saturday, while out to lunch with some students, one of the kids I was with asked what name he should give when ordering his food. You're gonna give a fake name? I asked. Saying that he was, we started discussing the possibilities. Never once did I consider giving a fake name instead of mine, yet when I went up to the counter, ordered my food, and gave my name, Kelly is not what came out, nor is it what came out, unplanned, the next day at Starbucks, and when I sat down I made a decision: it was time to start again. To be stupid, mopey Kelly, the girl who devoted her life to the pursuit of one boy no more, the girl who let people who don't even matter, matter way too much, no more.

It was time to be reborn.

It was time to choose who I would become, and since I so ardently believe that fate and destiny have played, and continue to play, such a weighty role in my life, becoming Kismet was one of the easiest decisions of my life, far easier than the decision I made tonight, the one that made me decide I was taking back the month.

And that decision, people, ridiculous as it may sound, was to not wear a bra when I left the house.

An explanation, of course:

Since I've become a fat ass as of late, my bra was bothering me, so when I got home from work, I took it off. Not long after, when I just couldn't take blowing my nose in toilet paper instead of tissue anymore, I faced the fact that as much as I didn't feel like leaving the house, I had to go to the grocery store.

But I didn't want to put on my bra.

I also didn't feel comfortable going to Publix without one.

A conundrum ensued.

Not go to Publix? Put on a bra and go to Publix? Go to Publix without the bra? I just couldn't decide what to do.

On the one hand, I really wanted to go to Publix, but on the other hand, I really didn't want to put on a bra. On the other hand still (you know, 'cause I have three), going to Publix without a bra isn't like not wearing one while walking the dog. Going to a public place without one is just not acceptable, or at least, like I said, something I felt comfortable doing; in fact, after almost four years of breast feeding resulting in my not having the most perfect chest in the world (although a guy I dated earlier this year did tell me I had French-girl breasts and absolutely loved them, which I have to admit was pretty nice), it's something I felt downright uncomfortable doing.

But I did it anyway.

I did it anyway--and then I walked to Whole Foods sans bra after I got home--and surprise, surprise, despite my reservations and fear, it turned out just fine.

Actually, it turned out better than fine. It turned out that because I faced that immediate fear or discomfort or whatever you want to call it, I got the idea to do more of the same throughout the rest of November, that soon-to-be former nemesis of mine. I got the idea that I have to--have to--do things that make me nervous or uncomfortable or sort of scared or downright terrified as much as possible this month, every day if I can.

Throughout the month, I have to force myself to do things I normally wouldn't because comfort zones? They're for Kels.

And Kismet is not a Kel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Quiet Things That No One Needs to Know

I may have told you this already, but one day several years ago when my ex-Glenn, who's run thousands upon thousands of miles, was running on the treadmill at the gym, a girl came up to him and asked him something like, Don't you ever just want to stop? and he answered something like, I want to stop all the time. But I don't. Maybe it was I want to stop all the time. But I keep going, but either way, you get the gist. The diction's a little different, but the meaning's not.

I think about that exchange often while I'm running, specifically, of course, when I'm ready--but not really ready--to stop. When I need something extra to get me through, I think about it, and I think about my ex-Glenn, who up until he relayed that conversation I thought had the easiest time running ever, and I repeat the first version over and over in my head like a mantra. I want to stop all the time. But I don't. And like my ex-Glenn, I keep on running, like it or not.

Well, last night was one of those nights when I had to pull the mantra out. It was humid, I was tired, I hadn't run outside in what seemed to be ages, my feet hurt, and dammit it all to hell, I wanted to stop. I wanted to stop, so in my head--

I want to stop all the time. But I don't.
I want to stop all the time. But I don't.
I want to stop all the time. But I don't.
I don't. I don't. I don't.

And then it happened. The running-induced epiphany of which I've written.

A few months ago, my mom said something about how strong I am, a statement that I disputed immediately (and a sentiment I still fail to see). What exactly prompted that statement, I have no idea, but the divorce, the restraining order, the threats from my ex-Glenn, the sole responsibility of my house and kids, the unethical lawyer who's 5,000 dollars richer while I'm that amount poorer--all of that had something to do with it, I'm sure. Really, it doesn't matter why the statement was made, only that it was.

So strong how? I asked (antagonistically, I'm sure).

Because, she told me not in these exact words, despite all the bad stuff happening to you, you're keeping it all together. You're taking care of the kids, taking care of the house, taking care of yourself.

Yes, but what choice do I have? It has nothing to do with strong. 

I wouldn't get out of bed. When your father left for ten days when you and your sister were little, I didn't get out of bed once and Tante, Paulette, and Aunt Carla had to come and take care of you.

Well, I'm not you.

I know that. I'm just telling you what I would do and why I think you're strong.

Again, I want to reiterate that I really don't think myself to be strong. If you have kids and a job and things that have to be done, well, you have kids and a job and things that need to be done. But while I was running last night, when I wanted to stop, when I thought my usual thought--I want to stop all the time. But I don't, it segued to my thinking other thoughts.

I thought about the last couple of weeks. I thought about my ex-Glenn taking my Hudson. I thought about his harassing my friends through both Facebook Messenger and text. I thought about a son who refuses to wake up when he needs to, making me rush like a maniac to get another son to school and myself to work on time every day. I thought about how once I get to work, already rushed and feeling harried, I working seven periods straight, teach two college classes, and have to be two grades' department head, and my days are such a blur that holy shit! it's already the middle of October and I don't even know how that occurred. I thought about a recently ended relationship that I wasn't ready to end. I thought about how much in the last month or so I really needed a friend but my two best ones disappeared, one to college and one to wherever friends go when they decide an intermission must be had.

I thought about those things, and I thought about how so many times in the last couple weeks I wanted nothing more than to climb into bed, clutch the stupid t-shirt-come-security blanket I sleep with every night, and never get out. I thought about all the times I wanted to call into work but got up and went anyway, all the times I wanted to give my students something to keep them busy but taught regardless. I thought about those things, and the next time I want to stop all the time. But I don't ran through my mind, it entirely meant something else.

Monday, September 21, 2015

I Guess You'd Call This Regression

This weekend I dyed my hair. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult a decision, but let me tell you, it was super difficult, and that's one of the biggest understatements of the year.

From the time I bought the dye, which was about a month ago, to the second I washed it out of my hair Saturday afternoon, I agonized over whether or not it should be done (and yes, I'm well aware that once I got to the point of washing the dye out of my hair, the agonizing was a total waste of time (or depending how you look at, I suppose, any time spent in agony is just one big waste of time)). Considering, though, that up until the August before the one that just passed, my hair pretty much ran the gamut of colors in a more than semi-regular rotation, the hemming and hawing doesn't seem to make much sense; after all, before I went blond and stayed there last year, at any given time, I could look like this

 or this
 or maybe possibly this
 unless I looked like this

 or this

or maybe even this
(um...I'm on the right)

and seriously? All of those cuts and colors? Decisions pretty much made at the drop of a hat. I mean, it's only hair, people. Hair. It grows right back.


this time, the decision was in no way easy. This time, I looked up picture after picture and I worried about work and I worried about skin tone and I worried about

(not being pretty)

hair condition and I worried about whether the dye would take right and I worried about

(people thinking I'm not cute)

fading and the little hairs at the nape of my neck and then finally after worrying about everything I could possible worry about, I decided I'd do it, but unlike the drastic way I usually do things, I decided I'd do it get-in-a-cold-swimming-pool style, starting with a few pieces in my bangs, maybe a curl or two in the back, nothing too dramatic, and if after a week or two I felt comfortable, I'd do more and then let things progress from there. 

And in the beginning, that's how the dye went down.

In the beginning, I really did put the color just on my bangs, albeit not just a few pieces, and I really did only paint it onto a few curls in the back, but it wasn't long until old habits took over, and before I knew it, my whole entire head was covered in color, saturated from front to back.

I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, great googly moogly, Kelly, what have you done?

And in those few hours that the dye was on my head, I was insanely nervous and tense. While I sat there, I thought about a conversation I had with some guy a million years ago, a guy who had gotten his lip pierced and was worried about how people would perceive him. At the time, I told him I was used to such things because when I was younger my hair was always colored in some way weird and the next week, I dyed it purple and blue, but Saturday as I sat there with dye in my hair, I wasn't feeling nearly as secure as I did when I'd had that talk. I was nervous and unsure and anything but secure, and as I washed my hair, right before I looked in the mirror, I was afraid--like seriously scared. What if I hated it? What if I got in trouble at work? What if any number of things from a list in my head came to pass?

And then I looked in the mirror and all the worry was gone, dissipated in a second, if it even took that much time. As I stood there looking in the mirror, fresh from the shower, hair a perfect combination of silver and lavender, I felt like I once again was the way I was supposed to be. I felt like yeah, the blond was fun, and hell yeah, guys seemed to like it, but it wasn't truly me, at least not the me that I'm supposed to be, and that got me thinking about life and about how no matter how long I stray from certain things--running, Stephen King, writing, certain friendships, the Ramones, to name just a few--and how awkward and tentative or just unsure I feel going back, when I get back to the things that are me, it's just so clear what's supposed to be. 

And clarity? I'm not gonna lie. 
It feels pretty good.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Au Revoir, Au Revoir, You Probably Don't Even Know What That Means

"The past is only the future with the lights on."
                                                                   --Mark Hoppus

Irony--an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

I've had a really hard week. Really hard. Harder than I've had in a long, long time.

For the first matter of hard, on Tuesday I got divorced. If you read my blog, you probably don't think that's a very big deal. You probably think I've entirely moved on and am super happy about things being over, and while yes, I'm happy to finally be able to move on once and for all, I'm not happy about saying an anticlimactic goodbye to somebody who was in more than half of my life, someone I kissed goodnight probably 6,500 times (times of separation and everyday fights were taken into account when calculations were made) between 1994 and 2014, someone I have two children with, someone I used to love. I'm not happy that relationship has evolved to a text-only relationship because my (not soon-to-be, not almost, but actual) ex-husband never wants to hear my voice again, that my sort-of happily ever after ended up not happy in the least, that for the first time in almost forever, I'm entirely alone. I'm not at all happy about any of those things.

But don't--really, don't!--think I think I've made a mistake. On Tuesday night, when I cried for the first time since last summer about all this; when I listened to the playlist I made about Glenn over a year ago, Songs That Make Me Want to Kill Myself; when, in my emotional, nostalgic funk, I picked up some old pictures lying around in an attempt to feed the sadness, instead of feeding it, and being all, Oh! I remember when we did this! And Omg, look at this picture of us in Chicago! We'll never go there together anymore, what went through my mind was, There I am, pregnant in Chicago. This is the time Glenn tried to kiss my sister, and There I am, with Glenn and my best friend when we were younger. He was fucking her right around the time this picture was taken. And I knew I didn't make a mistake. I knew I didn't feel sadness for the person I lost or the specific relationship that was over but for the unexpected, unwanted turn taken in my life.

Speaking of which--

In my last post, I wrote about the best time of my life, the summer when I was twelve, and the best time of my adult life, the summer that just passed. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned something about this before, but that summer, the one I was twelve, the best time of my life? It came to a screeching halt right around September 5 when those friends I loved so much and spent every minute with decided they no longer wanted me in their lives. The friendships that had meant so much, that had given me so much not only were gone, but in true twelve-and-thirteen-year-old-mean-girl style, they decided to make my life hell by starting horrible rumors about me and getting pretty much every person at HD Perry Middle to take part in my ostracization (because you know, abandoning me completely wasn't awful enough).

Well, this past summer, the one I loved so much? A lot of it was because of my new found independence, yes, but another big part of it came from a group of friends, who, while nowhere near as close of friends as that group of friends I had when I was twelve--one of them is North Star, after all--were maybe just as significant, maybe not for any reason other than the time they appeared in my life and what was happening during it, but really for reasons I can't--or choose not to--explain at all. Really, you probably wouldn't get it even if I did.

But, anyway, those friends? I guess mean girls don't have to be twelve and thirteen. Or, for that matter, girls at all.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This Is Home

And now, like it does year after year, my summer has come to an end. School starts Monday, and as I greet it with not so open arms, I really have no choice but to face forward and tell my summer goodbye.

But first:

I'm pretty sure I've written in this blog about how much I loved being twelve, but really it's not all of twelve that I loved. It was actually only a few short months, the summer between seventh and eighth grade, that I loved and was almost definitely the best time of my life. With zero responsibility, a small group of super close friends who never left each other's sides for a second, and parents who worked all the time leaving us to do all the typical twelve-year-old stuff we did--you know, typical twelve-year-old stuff like sleeping till noon, watching hair metal videos, listening to tapes loud enough to bother the neighbors, trying to steal my father's car and drinking his Jack Daniels and little bottles of Bacardi in the middle of the day, smoking Marlboro reds that we somehow got the guy at Cumberland Farms to let us buy, sneaking out in the middle of the night, hanging out with much older boys--it's a time of my life I'll probably never top.

But this summer I very nearly did. In fact, I think it's safe to say that this summer, the summer I christened the Summer of Run, was the best time of my entire adult life.

Can I just--

(I can)

The Summer of Run

1. I'll start with the obvious. I ran. Literally, and not in the way everybody says literally now when literally isn't really what they mean. Just about every day, in fact, in almost every state up the East Coast as well as parts of the Midwest. And as you already know, it was the best.

2. I ran. Figuratively, in the sense that I was pretty much constantly having to get things done, things like searching for a hot water heater compatible with an out-of-date fuse box installed barely after I was born, taking sick dogs to the vet, going to my lawyer, going to court, running stupid errands that apparently parents have to run (who knew?) like going to two kids' worth of  pediatricians and orthodontists and dermatologists and dentists, driving Griffin all over Fort Lauderdale now that he's in love, shopping at three stupid grocery stores every stupid week, and really any other running around that comes to your mind? It was probably done.

3. I ran. Away from my marriage, away from the man I used to consider my Glenn. Away from that sadness, away from that conflict, away from that life.

4. I ran. To a new life, to a new light. To a new morning every day instead of the constant loop I used to live.

5. I ran. From here to Kansas City, to Boston and back, I went as far as I could as if distance traveled could somehow differentiate me from the girl I used to be, which in a way, it did.

6. I ran. With the new persona I created, the new Kelly I had no choice but to become. I just kept on keeping on. I made my own decisions and was entirely responsible for me, my kids, my house, my dogs, and a whole lot of stuff in between. Did it suck not having someone to help me with the day to day? Fucking duh. Do I care? Okay, well, yeah, maybe I do, maybe a lot of the time it really kinda sucks (it can't all be coffee and hydrangeas, people!).

But I'm pretty sure I'll be all right.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Don't Ever Look Back, Again

On July 7, what will be exactly a year ago tomorrow, I wrote about finishing the Runners World Run Streak and what I learned from it in the post Don't Ever Look Back. Well, this year I ran the Run Streak again, and--surprise, surprise--I'm going to do the exact same thing.  Like Happy Holiday, You Bastard! 2014Happy Holiday, You Bastard! Take Two, and Happy Holiday, You Bastard!, you can expect this to be a regular thing.

What I learned from running from the day before Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, forty-two--forty-two!--days in a row. In a list.

1. I am so much better than I was last year.

Last year when I wrote about the Run Streak, I talked about how incredibly injury prone I am and how I couldn't possibly run every day because if I did, I'd end up hurting myself and not be able to run at all, which was absolutely, positively true. Now, I'm not saying I no longer get hurt--dear God, I'm not saying that, and if I end up sidelined tomorrow, I suppose I have nobody to blame but myself for jinxing myself on this post--but the 55 miles I ran with some rest days last year did turn into 97 miles without rest this one. What I'm saying, I suppose, is that I'm stronger. I'm stronger than I was, and I'm also more determined, which brings me to number 2.

2. I'm ridiculously dedicated and pretty damn determined.

So during the Run Streak, this:

A. I went to Kansas City for eight days, where I worked from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. scoring hundreds of essays without a day off. Maybe that doesn't seem like such a big deal to you, but any teacher or professor reading this understands just how difficult a task it really is.

B. I drove over 3,000 miles, from South Florida to Charleston to Washington DC to Boston to Philadelphia, with two teenagers, one of whom wouldn't shut the fuck up about how much he missed his girlfriend and how he didn't appreciate my taking him on the trip, and two dogs who barked so much we almost got kicked out of a hotel. Both Boston and Philadelphia were grassless--grassless!--and I had to walk four blocks to a park each time the dogs needed to go out, in Boston through Florida-winter weather and pouring rain.

C. I experienced hill running for the first time. Kansas City, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, South Carolina--nothing but hills. Is Florida the only flat place on earth?

D. I totally twisted my ankle running down a hill in Santee, South Carolina, where we spent the night on the drive back home, badly enough that I had to sit down on the ground, force myself not to cry, and worry about how I was going to get back to the hotel. And you know how I did? I ran. Slowly. Three days away from the end of the streak with .65 miles completed for the day, no fucking way I was going to stop.

Despite A-D and anything else I didn't mention, I got my ass up, and I ran every motherfucking day. In Kansas City when I had to catch the bus by 7:30 to get to the scoring place by 8, I woke up by 6 so I could run, even on days when I'd run at midnight the night before; in Washington when I felt like my legs couldn't possibly carry me back up a hill, I ran up the goddamn motherfucking hill; in Boston, after sitting in a car for a thousand-plus-mile drive, I ran; when I got home with my twisted ankle, I wore the ankle brace I limped into CVS to buy, set the treadmill on a lower speed than normal, and I ran though the pain. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to get in the way of my finishing the Run Streak. And it didn't.

3. I can get accustomed to anything.

Okay, so I already said I'm a better runner than I was last year, but there's more. It's like, when I used to run, and when I say used to run, I mean prior to last year's streak and my final separation with Glenn because if I had to pick a distinct separation of my two (running) lives, that would be it, if I ran on the treadmill I set it at 5.5, and if I ran outside, my miles were somewhere around 11 minutes. I also missed days all the time. Now, if I run at 5.5 I pretty much feel like I'm walking, if I run an 11-minute mile I--actually, that would never happen, so I don't even know--and if I miss a day, I feel like something is wrong. I guess the lesson learned here is that if I stick to something--anything--I'll succeed.

4. Happy can be found in unexpected places.

I never thought running would be such a huge part of my life, that it would make me as happy as it does, because it's always been a struggle, but it is and it does. While I used to dread running, now I look forward to it every single day. I don't have very much to say about this one except that even something that initially causes despair can bring happiness if people let it.

5. No matter what's going wrong in my life, I always feel better after a run.

I often think while I'm running that I don't understand why in the world anybody would ever do a drug, that very little feels better than this. Of course my problems are still there after I finish, but they never look as bad.

6. The harder the better.

Yes, sometimes I run easy and sometimes I run long, but by far the runs that feel the most right to me are the runs when I run hard. Putting all my effort into something, pushing myself until I feel like I can't be pushed anymore just feels amazing.

Number 7 isn't really a lesson learned because I wrote the same thing last year, but it's something I must copy, paste, and repeat:

7. Running is a metaphor for absolutely everything.

But that one I already knew.