October 29, 2012. That was the last time I wrote anything here. The wheels kind of fell off, honestly. Work got crazy, and after running my only race in October 2013, I have been in and out and back in physical therapy again for my hip issues, and work got crazy again and again, and will again soon. The good news is that we have made great progress in PT, and I may yet run again next year.
When I started this blog, I was heavily into running and duathlons, etc. Now, thanks to injury, I am not, and I am essentially learning to walk all over again, before I can run. But something happened the other night that had an effect on me, and the last line of my notes from that experience said “Resurrect the blog?”
So here I am. Hello, World, 2.0. (And, because this is me, I can’t not talk about my dog…)
Last month, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2014 Women in Public Service Conference at Hamline University. Being in the same room with such amazing women really inspired me to think about where I’ve been and where I might be going in my career.
As it happens, the 2 sessions I attended at the conference were heavily focused on concepts from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In book. I haven’t read the book. On purpose. I dismissed it out of hand when it came out. I figured it was really geared to women who were trying to balance families and work and their lives. I don’t have kids, so I figured it wouldn’t mean much to me. (Side note: I plan to read the book while on vacation in December… I feel like if I read it, and don’t agree with it, that’s one thing. Dismissing it without reading it seems unfair. That’s my stance on voting, too. I can’t complain about my elected officials if I didn’t vote.)
The people talking at the conference talked a lot about the concept of “What would you do if you weren’t afraid,” and that leaning in meant daring to dream (big or small) and take the baby steps to achieve those dreams. I learned that there were local Lean In circles all over the country, including here in the Twin Cities, that had popped up in the wake of the book, a way for people to gather locally and explore personal and professional growth and leadership. The group meets as a larger group on the even months, and meets as smaller groups on the odd months.
Wednesday evening, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and went to my first large group meeting. I have a tinge of social anxiety. I am an ambivert, capable of being extroverted, but I also need my introverted recharge time. If I am attending a gathering of people I don’t know, it is very hard for me to actually get out the door to attend the event. It’s sometimes even hard when it is people I do know, but it’s most crushing and difficult when it is people I don’t know.
Fortunately, someone in my area had asked to carpool, and a 3rd person also wanted to carpool, so I offered to drive, and met some great people in my neighborhood as a result. It had the added advantage that I wouldn’t be walking into the gathering all by myself. I would already know Molly and Jenn, a little bit.
The large group experience was great. There was the “What would you do if you weren’t afraid” icebreaker, and it was amazing how comfortable I felt sharing in front of a group I didn’t know. (Maybe that made it easier…) Then we broke into our smaller groups for conversation & connection, and when we re-convened, we heard a wonderful speaker.
Carol took the time to give us an overview of the books and research of Brene Brown, a prominent scholar and author around the subjects of shame, vulnerability, and wholeheartedness. Carol’s speech was filled with obvious passion for her subject, and really took the time to connect with us as she spoke.
I bought Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection a few months ago. I read a couple of chapters, which seemed engaging and interesting, then put the book down and haven’t picked it back up since. I went home from the meeting, ordered Brown’s other 2 books, and plan to spend some time reading and reflecting on them in the next couple of months.
I asked a good friend, who I thought might be familiar with Brown’s work, if she’d be interested in being a local sounding board as I read these books, as it seems that a key tenet of Brown’s work is having people in your life that you can trust as you examine what you want in your life and how you want to get there.
I think that’s the turn this blog will likely take. As I read, and as I process through things, I’d like to post some of them here. A bit of navel-gazing, to be sure, but I hope that some of what I post resonates with the 1.5 of you who will see this blog entry.
For those of you who read this blog because of running and physical activity, this blog probably won’t focus on that for a while, so check back in sometime next year if you’re not interested in reading and thinking more about how to really throw yourself into living your life instead of just existing through the days and hours (which, if you’re not, I won’t be offended….).
I’m 40 now, and it feels like time to examine where I am now (which is a great place, don’t get me wrong. I am not unhappy with my life, but there is always room for improvement!) and what the future might hold, if only I don’t stand in my own way.