June 11, 2012

My Happy Places

Last week, Ashley interviewed me for her blog. It turns out that mine was the first running blog she had ever read, which made me feel really special! The most rewarding part of taking the time to write my blog has been meeting people and hearing that I impacted their lives. I’m not saying I’ve been some life-changing inspiration; I just mean it feels special to hear things like people reading my race reports to prepare for their own races (hi, Melissa!), or that they were going to skip their workout but then decided to go run just one mile. I know I’ve done the same thing after reading other blogs, though perhaps I don’t share it with them enough. I love the blogging community and how we all band together to make each of us a little better!

But I digress. What I wanted to talk about today was one of the questions Ashley asked me: where is your happy place? I responded that it was the stretch of Riverside Park next to my apartment – where I can run on the pier, play with dogs in the dog park (only when I’m with a friend who has a dog – I’m not that much of a creeper!), picnic in the grass along the river and people watch, or get drinks with friends at Boat Basin or Pier I. I’m not much of a believer in astrology or the signs of the Zodiac, but as a crab (Cancer), I do love being near any kind of body of water. It’s hard to be stressed out when I’m sailing on Cayuga Lake, swimming on the Gulf Coast, or going for a run along the Charles River in Boston. Being near water just makes me so calm and happy!

This weekend, I got to go to Ithaca for my five year college reunion, and I had the time of my life. Beyond all the catching up on what everyone is doing now, seeing old classmates and reminiscing made it hard to believe how much my life had changed in the last five years. When I was in school, I wasn’t a runner at all – and now, almost every classmate with whom I spoke had heard about my marathon accomplishments. I always thought of myself as a pretty average member of my class of 2007, and I’m certainly pretty unremarkable compared to those of my classmates who are already achieving truly amazing things, like running for state senator (!!). However, it made me really proud to walk up to tables of people I didn’t even know from college and have them know me as, “oh, you’re that marathon girl?! That’s so cool!” Now I just hope that I can accomplish something else worthy before my 10 year reunion – as proud as I am of what I’ve already done, I want to do so much more in my life too.

I spent Friday wine touring with my class on the most glorious day – sunny, beautiful, and perfect.

I realized that the vineyards along the Finger Lakes were another “happy place” for me, so much that by the end of the wine tour, I was telling everyone and anyone that I eventually wanted to have my wedding there (hmm, now to find a guy to make that happen). It was apparently a big weekend for me making crazy life plans, since the next day I visited the Cornell Store and decided I wanted to have a little girl specifically so that I could get her an adorable red plaid sundress with “Future Cornell grad” on the front. So preppy, so cute!

Even beyond all the amazing activities of the weekend (lecture by the CEO of Sprint, class barbecue, dancing with Bill Nye on the Arts Quad), the part that I enjoyed most was getting to just walk around campus/Collegetown and reminisce. I didn’t end up doing the 5 mile race on Saturday morning (lots of rain that morning coupled with staying far too late at my class’ Friday night party), but I went for a quick 2 mile run through campus on Friday morning – and it just made me so happy to be back at school and get to reflect. There were many new buildings, but there was a lot that had stayed the same. More than anything, I loved seeing places that reminded of the totally mundane things, like pulling an all-nighter in my favorite room at the 24×7 library to write our labor law final papers, or how we always used to meet for delicious sweet potato fries in the basement of the hotel school before heading to our country club management class. Everything I saw brought up great memories (yes, even studying was a happy memory), and I realized that all of Cornell will always be my happy place. Despite the fact that I don’t need an MBA to progress at my current job, it made me desperately want to go back to school at Cornell, just to spend two more years in that amazing place.

Today, I’m back on my way to Dallas – which doesn’t have nearly as many memories as Ithaca (yet… though I’m probably going to be working in Dallas for the next few years, which is as long as I was in Ithaca). While on the plane this morning, I found myself staring out the window at the clouds and blissing out to Gloriana’s “Wild at Heart.” I realized that with all the travel I get to do, planes themselves have become my happy places too. It’s a relief to stare out the window and know that, for a few hours, I get a respite from my phone/email (this is why I’ve stopped purchasing Gogo on my flights unless I absolutely have to for work). Plus, it’s so peaceful calming to soar above the clouds and then arrive in a totally different place from where you started the journey.

To me, there’s just so much possibility in a plane ride. Despite going to Dallas every week, the beginning of the journey always feels like a new beginning on life in general. Every Monday, I feel like it’s a chance to begin again – to make new goals for myself and get a fresh start. On Thursdays, I relish the anticipation of flying home or to an exciting new place… and I’ve been known to tear up a bit if Michael Buble’s “Home” happens to come on my playlist while I’m in flight.

So in short? My happy places are by rivers/oceans/lakes; in grassy meadows alongside lush vineyards; and flying high above the clouds. Plus, I can’t forget the utter magic I’ve felt when running marathons in places like Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming – in my opinion, among the most beautiful states in the nation. Apparently I am more of a nature girl that I have ever let myself admit!

Where is your happy place?


7 thoughts on “My Happy Places”

  1. i love this so much,i feel the exact way (minus the whole plane thing, i just have panic attacks up there). We must adventure to a lake/vineyard/body of water/ sometime sooon 🙂

    beautifully written!

  2. Where are you on Riverside? I walk my pup at Riverside all the time!

    My happy places are – anywhere there are alpine mountains, beaches and boardwalk, Central Park, Madison Square Park, Chapel Hill, walking over George IV bridge in Edinburgh, and Castle Ward in Ireland.

  3. Hi Laura! 🙂

    BTW, just signed up for my next marathon-Philly marathon in November! So, I’ll be reading your race recaps in the coming months for continued inspiration!

  4. Good post, but in your pictures, you should probably not stand next to someone that good looking, it kind of shows you up.

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