May was something else, and for once something else is referring to positive changes.
First thing – I’m back to work!
I was focusing my job search to agencies in the southern and eastern suburbs. Downtown was no longer an option for me, and logistically I didn’t want to commute across town to the north side. I wanted to find a smaller place away from all the people and traffic, where I didn’t have the corporate behemoth looming over me. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to work somewhere and actually feel like I was being useful, not just keeping my head down and keeping the machine chugging.
In late April I had an interview at a place I originally applied to in February. My overall feel was that the agent took his business seriously, but everyone is generally relaxed around each other and we could talk freely to each other. And the agency is in one of my favorite suburbs away from downtown.
He made me an offer on May 3rd, and I started working on May 10th. Turns out my gut feeling about this being a better, more relaxing place was correct, and I’m so relieved to be off unemployment.
The second thing – I got my insurance license for property and casualty.
Do you remember the struggle from a few months ago, where I was applying for agency jobs that said a license was preferred but not required, only to arrive at the interview and discover that the license was actually a legal requirement?
The last two months have revolved around studying for that exam. State requirements said I had to score at least a 70 to pass. My practice exams were coming back in the low 70s, and I wanted to score higher than that. Pride was part of it, and I figured if I knew at least 80 percent of my material, then that would give me some wiggle room in the areas I was weaker. My practice exam scores were gradually increasing, and by the Friday before my exam I set the goal of scoring an 80.
I finally took the exam on May 22nd. To my pleasant surprise, the practice exams were more intensive than the state exam. I took my time on test day and crossed my fingers for the final results email.
I pulled an 82.
The dragon that needed slayed was finally dead and no longer looming over me. I’ve felt so much lighter since, and I’m so glad to have that behind me.
Third and final thing – I ran the first race in over a year.
I’m not going to lie – running over the past year has sucked without in-person races. More power to the runners who are so madly in love with running that they can maintain impressive mileage no matter what is going on in the world. I’m not one of those runners. I need an event to look forward to, or else I’m going to fall into “why bother?” mode and running will fall by the wayside.
The urge to race again came back in April, and out of curiosity I decided to Google a list of half marathons in Ohio. I didn’t expect any races in the cities, and discovered the Yolo Festival of Races in Greenville, which is about 20 minutes away from my folks.
The race had three distance options: a half, a 15k and a 5k. It was also scheduled the day before Mother’s Day, so my mom and I decided I’d spend Friday night and do the race as our Mother’s Day event. Mom registered for the 5k, and I registered for the half.
Words couldn’t describe how happy and complete I felt. I didn’t run fast by any means. Actually, no one did, not even the one guy who wears his Boston Marathon jacket to every race. I was clunky and heavy-footed as I ran through downtown Greenville, through the Darke County Fairgrounds, and over those hilly country roads. The sun was beating down on me, a nice contrast to the cold headwind.
The world gets quiet and manageable whenever I race, a reminder to myself that just because there’s plenty of craziness going on around me doesn’t mean I have to let it come inside and destroy my peace. It’s still a blur now, and if it weren’t for the medal I probably wouldn’t remember running it.
All I know is that during those two and a half hours, I felt great and like the Good Old Me was back. That’s more than enough.
So now it’s June 1st. A new month, and probably the first month where I feel like I’m in the right direction. Bring on the training, bring on sunshine, and bring on the keeps-getting-better.
I hope you all experience growth, joy and many happy miles.
Yours in writing and running,