So here we are, teetering between years once again, a big toe still in 2017, a heel and toe box (to use a running shoe vernacular) hovering excitedly above 2018. We’re in the midst of a breathless game of Red Rover: As a new year calls our name, we glance over our shoulder at what seemed a pretty good place to be until right this very second.
For me, it was a pretty good place. Nothing spectacular — no falling in love or publishing a book or discovering what exactly I want to be when I grow up. And that’s AOK. I found beauty and rejuvenation in moments, in the mountains, in time spent with those I love.
A leg ailment combined with laziness kept me from signing up for a race most of the year. But in November, I ran the Turkey Trot; in December, the Dallas Half Marathon — sharing the delight in those miles with my son, who ran them, too. He and I hiked together in Colorado; I had game nights with my mom and wine giggle gatherings with my sisters, who had a surprise birthday party for me in February — coincidentally, the same month I was born (insert wink here).
I moved into a new house. I almost made it to church every Sunday (a few times even before the sermon started), sitting in my favorite pew with my favorite chapel pals. I started taking a barre class. I squeezed my eyes shut and leaped out of my comfort zone, landing in a week-long fellowship with the National Press Foundation, where I met some really smart and nice people who are now my friends.
I laughed and I cried. I crossed paths with more special people. I said goodbye to some I didn’t want to say goodbye to — a beautiful man I wrote about on Easter Sunday; a beloved and courageous colleague. I marveled, five years since his death, that my dad is still at the heart of every moment in which I find joy.
I was reminded, time and again, what a difference the smallest of gestures, the sparsest of words, the tiniest tweak of a situation can make. And especially how being just a little bit kind can change a moment, a morning, an entire attitude — perhaps even a life.
Before that last sigh of 2017, that final exhale that will push us over the midnight edge to begin our breathing on the other side, I just wanted to remember way more than I can ever write down. Much will come to me when I wake up tomorrow, or when something in the new year reminds me of something in the old.
Meanwhile, for every step, every sunrise, every star, every bit of wonder that leaves us wide-eyed and secretly sneaking a peek for more…The Grateful Runner says thank you.