Hello November

I don’t believe in January 1st resolutions. Actually, now that I think about it, January might be the only first of the month I don’t make a big deal of. But the other 11 months are times of reflection and intention.

It’s now November of possibly one of the longest years of anyone’s life. Typically November is when I shift out of marathon mode and into a new race mode – Christmas shopping. It’s the time of year when magic starts poking its head up around the corner. The last of the tree leaves will fall off, but the neighborhoods and cities won’t stay bare for long.

I was looking through my phone the other day and found all the pictures from Decembers past. The poinsettia displays at Franklin Park Conservatory, the lights on the Scioto Mile, and the Christmas tree at my folks’ house were there.

I had to chuckle at the Christmas tree at the statehouse last year. My mom and I probably crashed a private event in the atrium without realizing it, and then quietly snuck out to get to Pistacia Vera in German Village. We ordered two chocolate bombes and a chocolate eclair that I arranged in a particular way for Instagram. Mom meanwhile saw another opportunity and rearranged them to her own amusement.

November is usually my final victory season and calm before the storm. However, being in my apartment since March, no races at all this year and not really knowing what day it is half the time has left me discombobulated.

In addition to job searching, I’ve also been trying to find different ways to keep myself sane. I’ve been having issues running, which is extremely frustrating. I know it’s dumb to do so, but I still battle the “oughtas” whenever I hop on Instagram and see other runners maintaining daily run streaks and 100+ mileage months. Meaning, even though I know I would give myself an overuse injury and get burned out, I still feel like I oughta lace up my shoes and run no matter what. But my body has been telling me a hard no.

So I decided to give the stationary bike at my apartment’s gym a try this past Friday.

I haven’t ridden my actual bike in a long time – unfortunately, the recreational trail by my complex has become a thoroughfare for homeless folks and a couple female residents have mentioned unnerving encounters when running or biking the trail. And typically I hate stationary biking because I’m short and no matter how I adjust the thing, I’m either sliding off the saddle trying to reach the handle bars or my feet can’t quite reach the pedals.

This past Friday I decided I was going to make that bike work for me, so readjusted the seat height, turned on early 2000s Britney and rode for an hour.

Was I proud? Enough that I’ve decided I’m committing to the bike for who knows how long.

Did my butt hurt? Yes, in areas I totally forgot existed on me.

I’m also reading for pleasure again. I’ve had a couple periods throughout my 20s where I mainly read spiritual/religious books to help grow in my walk, and because Christian living books typically relax me during rockier patches, in addition to offering insight that can usually help me through whatever I’m currently dealing with.

The other night at the grocery I stumbled on the last copy of Lisa Bevere’s Strong Devotions to Live a Powerful and Passionate Life. I watched a few of Lisa’s sermons back when I was in high school and generally like her stuff, since I tend to hear a lot of my own shortcomings whenever she talks about her personal struggles. I put that in my cart as well and then started reading it the next day.

So far it’s a fast read and I’m enjoying it. I told my mom this morning that while I’m going through the unemployment patch, I’m going to make an effort to read something valuable (asides from Reddit forums to reconfirm that I still don’t like the things I don’t like) and nurture my spiritual side. “I can at least take care of myself while I wait, right?” I figured to her.

So this is where I’m at on the first day of November. Instead of racing and magic, I’m focusing on clarity, mental/emotional renewal and general soul care. November is going to be different, but different doesn’t mean bad.

I hope you all are able to find some joy, clarity and calm going into a new month.

Yours,

Alli

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