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2023: What a strange year it’s been

I’m a planner. I like lists, schedules, itineraries. An organized calendar. Structure. The ability to make a plan and know what is coming. When I don’t have those things I feel disoriented. I even get a little, shall we say, moody (Just ask my husband 😱). So when some things went sideways this year, I felt a little adrift. I wasn’t sure where my boat was headed and it took me awhile to adjust course, take advantage of the opportunities I was being given, and see the path ahead, even if it wasn’t as clear as I wanted it to be.

Old Publisher, New Publisher

As I’ve mentioned before, it was necessary for me to part ways with my first publisher earlier this year. It was a frustrating situation and, though a difficult decision, ultimately the right one for me. But for a short time, I was unsure of the future of my debut novel. Fortunately, I found a new home with Black Rose Writing and couldn’t be happier. The entire process with Black Rose has been fantastic and I’m eagerly looking forward to my book’s release on September 5, 2024.

Careers, Jobs, and Work

This spring, the tech start-up where I worked full-time as a marketing director went through a round of layoffs. Myself and a number of my wonderfully talented team members were unfortunately affected. It was a shock, to say the least, and an unsettling time to be back on the job market. Unfortunately, many tech companies have struggled over the past year and competition for jobs in the industry has been intense. Hiring processes are long, interview questions and job qualifications are incredibly specific, and the entire experience has been very humbling. It is a matter of time, I’m certain, until I find my next role. What I will say is that, in the meantime, I am fortunate to have support, encouragement and references from a core group of wonderful former co-workers and mentors who have proven themselves to be true friends and heroes.

Free time

Without a full time job (aside from the full time hours spent looking for a new full time job!) I suddenly found myself with a lot more free time. It was something I used to always yearn for, and here I was with boatloads of it. I wish I could tell you that I used it to write my next book. And while I did make a (very) small amount of progress on it, I just wasn’t in the right head space. I did, however, join a local writers group and connected with some great folks. It has given me the chance to work on some skills, share some writing, and get out of my comfort zone.

Otherwise, I felt frustrated with hours of reading job postings and submitting applications and sitting through interviews, and needed action. So I painted. Spent more time with my kids. Worked in my garden. Hacked at the giant Virginia creeper vines that threaten to take over our yard every year–and let out a lot of rage in the process. (I highly recommend this method of stress release). Organized cabinets and closets. Adopted a rescue cat. Took my son on a trip to New York City. Trained for a marathon (more on that in a minute). Took long walks with my dogs. And got more cleaning done than I have in years.

It’s been a strange break after so many years of full-time work. But, overall, a nice one. I’ve had the chance to reset. I’ve had time to myself and time with my family. Time to be creative and time to be productive. Time to clear my head, think through my priorities and consider what I want. I look forward to getting back to work, but I can honestly say that this break has been a healthy and therapeutic change.

Running around

Back in March, my husband and I traveled to Tokyo to run the 2023 Tokyo Marathon. Tokyo is the 5th out of 6 World Major Marathons that we’ve now completed. Having previously run New York, Chicago, London and Berlin Marathons, I have to say that Tokyo was a wildly different experience. From the 14+ hour plane trip, to the search for vegan food in Japan, to stressing about the very strict and specific race rules, to the longest port-o-potty lines I’ve ever seen at any race ever–it was wild. But we had an amazing time and I’ll never forget running through the streets of Tokyo.

A few months later, I ran a very different race. The organizers of the New York City Marathon offer a handful of people the chance to run a guaranteed-entry virtual marathon. In other words, you pay an entry fee and run a marathon distance anywhere in the world during the same week as the in-person NYC Marathon. In the process, you earn yourself a guaranteed entry to the following year’s in-person marathon. So, on a chilly day in October, I set out alone on the local rail-trail–an entire world away from the crowded streets of Tokyo. The rain started 14 miles in. The trail, normally busy with runners, bike riders and walkers, was so empty that day, I almost collided with a deer wandering across the path. I let my mind wander as the miles went by, tried to forget the cold and the rain, and concentrated on making it to 26.2 miles….where hubby and all three of our kids were waiting. Very proud to say it was my second best time ever, even if my lips were blue by the end! And I earned myself a place in the 2024 New York City Marathon 🙂

One more note on the World Major Marathons. Seven years ago, my husband and I set out on a mission to run all six World Majors and have one to go–the one in our home city, the Boston Marathon. Of all the World Majors, Boston is the hardest in which to earn a spot. We are not fast runners and do not qualify based on time. Despite numerous applications, we were not accepted by any charities for spots in the 2024 Boston Marathon. We are more than willing to raise the large amounts of money ($10k each) for a charity, given the opportunity! But, understandably, spots are highly sought after and not easy to nab. We are actively looking for guidance, help, referrals, connections, etc, from anyone willing to give them in order to find a charity who will take us so that we can reach our goal! Many thanks 🙂

Looking ahead

So, what does 2024 hold? Many things, of course. But I’m trying my best not to be so rigid about what those things should or shouldn’t be.

The old me would say I hope next year holds the next big step in my career. But what I really want is a good job where I can do great work. I want to work with people who are as excited as I am to be doing the job and take pride in what they do. I hope very much to find that.

2024 means the launch of my first book, something I’ve been waiting for, in some ways, my whole life. I can’t even begin to express how exciting that is.

The next year means another year of my three teenagers becoming even more independent and brilliant and sassy. More capable and hilarious and too-smart-for-their-own-good. Heaven knows they drive me insane, but goodness, do I love them like crazy.

And I know, without a doubt, that the next year will be filled with more wonderful things. Like great books. Snuggles on the couch with our dogs. Flowers in our garden. Road trips. Starbucks coffee. Netflix binges. Long runs. And thanking the heavens for the man who has happily put up with his moody, unemployed, temperamental, sweatpant-wearing wife this year and always had a smile ready for her. I thank all that is good in the world for my saint of a husband.

The year will hold plenty of other things, I’m sure, both good and bad. Will I see it all coming? Not a chance. But I’m getting better with this whole rolling with the punches thing. I hear some people call it… relaxing? Never heard of it. 😉