In the Midst of Change, I Realize Accomplishment

I feel inordinately proud of the completion of my first 10k on Sunday—I am pretty sure I am much prouder than I would have been having done one back home and here’s why:  in the midst of all the upheaval and change in my life this past year, in my family’s life, all the loss, all the learning, all the adapting, I picked up a new hobby and set a goal to do something that was JUST for me, and I accomplished it!
 I had a very lonely holiday season last December with Steve working so much and not knowing many people; I was alone a lot and had quite a bit of time to think.  I kind of took stock of all that was going on in my life—how I’d had to change literally almost everything.  To go from hardly ever leaving Colorado in 33 years to making a move where I not only had to meet new people and find my way around a new town and a new grocery store, but I had to also learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road, learn a new currency and measuring system, learn a new culture, and learn a new word for most of the words I use was a BIG deal for me.  It’s a loss of identity in many ways.
So I set some goals.  I wanted to find myself in the midst of all this change; I wanted an identity, something I do that I do because I want to, just because.  Running a 10k was one of those goals.   I did it!  Fitness has always been important to me, but I have most often done group classes.  My gym in Colorado was my social life.  I got myself there every morning not only to exercise and to feel better about myself, but also to catch up on the latest goss (Australian for gossip), chat with like-minded mommies and start my day with some fun.  Well, I lost that social outlet.  Now, the only thing making me get up at 6:00 every morning and go out into the hot, humid sun or the dark chilly morning was me—and I did it! 
The boys and I have gotten sick this past year more often than we ever have in one year.  I have been low on sleep and low on energy and learning everything new.  I miss my family; I lost a dear family member and was far away from it all when it happened, but, still I did it!  Running and lifting weights have become, in place of fun, easy friends, my mental sanity and they have helped me get through.  Obviously, I keep trying to meet more people and get out more and become more local and more comfortable here, but this pattern of alternating early mornings running with lifting weights has kept me going.  I would be much worse off without it.
And, of course, I have my sweet family to thank.  I have to be home and showered by 7:15 usually so Steve can leave, but if the kids wake up earlier than that, he deals with them so I can have my time. I go out a bit later on Saturdays, so Steve makes breakfast.  They all have gotten up early two Sunday mornings and hung out at a chilly race track so I could try these races and they have cheered me on with smiles on their faces.  It’s very touching.  Have I mentioned how happy I am that I did it?!  I know in Colorado a 10k is a drop in the bucket of what most friends accomplish in a year, but it was a big deal to me, and I am patting myself on the back this week!  I actually was crying a little bit (as I do) driving home from the Gold Coast on Sunday while my 3 boys snoozed after their early morning on little rest, thinking about how happy and proud I felt and how this symbolizes for me, my strength in all that I have accomplished in these past 9 months.  I guess it’s the endorphins, but that race brought so much happy emotion to the surface for me. 
Overall it’s been a very happy week.  I got to go out AGAIN on Thursday and Friday evenings, the first for a dinner for Drew’s school and the second for the quarterly playgroup Mom’s social.  It was much more comfortable for me this time than the one I went to in March—hooray for progress!  On Saturday, we had a lovely day down on the Coast with good friends, and met more wonderful friends for dinner that evening.  The weather was gorgeous all weekend.  Steve has now had ‘the cold’ pretty badly, but the boys are finally feeling better and really enjoyed themselves all weekend. 
With that over, we are now ‘all systems go’ for getting out of here on Saturday.  The boys and I finished up work and school for a month; they had a makeup swim lesson this morning and will have their last lesson on Friday.  We just need to pack and leave.  Our wonderful neighbours are going to keep an eye on the house for us, and our great new friends are driving us to the airport on Saturday.  They don’t have family over here either and I hope we can be a help to each other in situations like these.  I may take a break from my blog.  I definitely want to record my feelings that will surface from being home and my observations on the whole experience, but just maybe not every week, maybe not even until we get back.  I’ll see how I feel.  I just want to cherish every second with family and friends and in beautiful Colorado. 
I will close today with one final oddity about these Aussies that I love.  It relates to being so cold in our house.  Steve and some other people kept saying to me that the houses here are built to keep cooler in summer, to keep the air flowing, which is why they are so much more prone to being cold in winter.  Well they are wrong!  And finally our friend confirmed that for me; the older houses are designed to bring whatever temperature is outside, in, and they get bloody hot in the summer because of that!  If a house is really designed to keep cool in summertime, walls instead of windows, blinds instead of bare glass, and insulation all help do that.  When you don’t even have blinds to pull over these many windows, the heat and sun just beats right in.  I guess they just must have been built before we learned that and it is worth mentioning that the cost of heating and cooling down here is about three times what it is in the U.S., so the people are really just better at dealing with temperature extremes.  I know it gets hot here, but really no hotter than Florida and several other places.  It’s just more of a commitment to spend the money to heat your house for the three to five months (people here tell me it’s just a couple, but I would be using heat more than that!) that you need it, and to cool it for the two to three (people here think it’s more, but I haven’t experienced the need yet) months that it would really help.  So, there.

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