Well, it’s my birthday, so this seems as good a day to revive this little thing as any.

I’ve started to write a thousand times, but then, I stop.  Unsure of whether I want to write, if I have anything to say, if I want to “put it out there,” I’ve chosen to stay silent.  But I miss it at times.

So, here I am, on my 44th birthday, thinking about the year that has passed and the one that is to come.  I think birthdays are even better than New Year’s in terms of celebrating the accomplishments of the past and looking ahead to new goals.

Some of the biggies of 43:

  • Yadkin Valley Community School
  • Foothills Theater productions of “Road Trip” and “Olivia deHavilland’s Birthday” (both original plays by my friend, Leighanne Wright.)
  • San Francisco
  • Both kids on swim team
  • The Flying Spider and The Moon Bear (both night races, both crazy, both absolute do-agains)
  • 3-day hike on the AT with Crystal and Michelle– AWESOME!!!
  • Trip to D.C. and Annapolis
  • Dominican Republic
  • Interviewed by Jamie Ridler
  • Writing Retreat
  • Scout
  • Poetry reading
  • Listen to Your Mother- Raleigh
  • Isaac’s first NC Science Olympiad
  • Harper’s last year of middle school

I spent today doing exactly what I wanted to do.  I slept in– sort of (6:45 is about an hour longer than usual), I went for a long, long run with Deanne at Stone Mtn., I worked in my yard and potted plants, and we went to the Elkin Roots Music Festival down at the park, which was really good.  It was laid-back and relaxing, something I have needed for a while now.

The spring has been performance heavy, and while it’s been a thrill and the shows have been some of my favorite experiences, I’m sort of coming down from the high and in need of some introverted time to myself.  The end of the school year always tends to do that to me anyway.

As I go into summer– my all-time favorite season–, I’m thinking about what I want more of, not just this summer but also all year.  What do I look forward to during my 44th year?  Well, as I’ve learned, there will be things that I can’t even imagine right now, and that’s part of the wonder and glory of a new year.  But I know of a few things I want to include in between– Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise.

For sure, I want more crazy race events.  The number of races I’ve participated in this year is down dramatically from the past.  This is mostly because I have been super frustrated with a Sybil-esque approach to training that I’ve had for quite a while now.  I KNOW what it takes to be good, to get fast, and yet… I just can’t seem to get motivated (or stay that way) when it comes to my training.  Depending on the time of year, the level of commitments and my pesky hamstring, I swing wildly between plans to run a fast 5K again to running crazy three-day stage races across mountain ranges to becoming a yogi/mountain bike chick.  What?  Exactly.  I have been consistently inconsistent in both my goals and my training.

I’ve spent a LOT of time contemplating this.  And here’s what I think I’ve decided (mind you, this is subject to change by morning)– I want to feel good and have lots of energy and do what I want to do when I want to do it.  Yeah, that’s about it.  I want to be strong and able to run up mountains whenever I darned well please.  I want to jump in the river, ride a bike for miles and miles, load up a pack and hike for several days, and break a healthy sweat on a regular basis (because, I gotta tell you, people, NOT sweating is far more gross than sweating).

I think, to put it in a nutshell, I have dreams of being a gainfully employed “dirtbag” with medical insurance and house payments.

I am not in a position, nor am I particularly inclined, to live the life of the typical subject of one of my favorite podcasts, The Dirtbag Diaries, BUT… I do love the idea of outdoor adventure and pushing myself, of getting to my perceived limit and going beyond it.  Right now, that looks like trail races (the weirder, the better), establishing a regular yoga practice, hiking, fastpacking, mountain biking, swimming in rivers, camping, and the occasional Spartan workout for strength.

So my goal for 44 is to get in the best shape I can without obsessing over every bite or worrying about doing a hill workout when what I really want to do is an hour of yoga.  My goal is to be fit and strong and outside as much as possible.  (My goals also include less time on the phone and Facebook– not that I’m on either very much as it is, but it’s enough to be annoying.  I mean, I can only take so much political commentary and group texts.  Being outside with the kids or on a trail with the dog sounds way better for my mental health.)

I like challenges.  So this is my challenge.  To be a middle-aged, psuedo-dirtbag.  And my other challenge is to write about it.  Honestly.  Even when I hit the inevitable low-mileage week when all I want after work is a cold beer and a marathon of “The West Wing” on Netflix.  Even when all the unexpected things of 44 come along.