July 2, 2022

Cultivating Caring

The last year has been rough. Burnout, depression, a massive wildfire, heartbreak, and the incredibly awful IVF experience that I still feel has ruined my life. I’ve been trying to come back from all of that, but for so much in life, I’m finding myself just not caring. There really hasn’t been much keeping me going; I’m just focused on getting through each day without any end in sight.

I was catching up on email this morning, and finally got to read Emily Halnon’s July 2021 post, From the PCT to the Siskiyou Out Back. Emily describes going into the race without having real expectations for her performance: “I couldn’t remember the last time I started a race with a real time or place goal burning in my head and my heart. And with the intention to run my very best run that day trying to get it.” But by the end of the race, her attitude had changed: “As I pushed up that climb, I felt how good it felt to try. And to care about what happened.”

I miss caring. I miss the feeling of wanting something so badly that I will work my hardest to get it. I miss waking up in the morning excited about my plans for the day, and bouncing out of bed with my brain full of all the stuff I get to do. These days, I wake up thinking about all the stuff I have to do… and that slight verbiage change is a pretty terrible feeling.

On Monday night, I’ll head to Chamonix for a week of trail running camp with Mimmi Kotka and Run the Alps.

I can’t bring Sadie, but Mimmi has a dog named Enzo who will be joining us. (Photo credit: Run the Alps)

I’m sticking around a day after camp to spend my birthday in Chamonix, with no idea of what my plans are for that day. I’m hoping I’ll meet some fun people to celebrate with, though I’m also a little nervous that I won’t meet anyone and I’ll spend it alone. So I’m mentally preparing for that and reminding myself that a day of trail running, wandering the streets of Chamonix, sitting at a café reading a book, and enjoying a good French meal with great French wine for dinner would still be a pretty awesome birthday. (Yes, I know how privileged and lucky I am to be able to take this trip.)

In spite of how great that sounds writing it out, I haven’t spent the last few weeks looking forward to this trip, like I expected when I booked it 18 months ago (and then had it delayed due to COVID). I wouldn’t say I’m dreading the trip, but it’s felt just kind of… blah. Like: “I’m going, I guess.” Now that it’s just two days away, though, it’s becoming more real.

I want this trip to be a panacea, a line in the sand between last year and the next year, a demarcation that’s going to magically fix everything. My 36th year sucked so much, and I desperately want my 37th year to be better. Realistically, I know that kind of change doesn’t happen overnight, but my wish for this trip is that the fresh setting and beautiful scenery will help reset my mindset. I really want to go into the next year feeling hopeful and positive about what’s to come.

And perhaps, start goal setting and caring again.


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