I have been back home in Columbus for a year. It’s been an incredible year, a challenging year, a fun year. However, I have been stating goals that I do not follow through on, which then prompts mini-panic attacks. My posting has been shoddy, and my eating has been the same. In the back of my mind, I keep thinking “Something is going to change for me, something will get me back on track, I am just waiting for that something!” But guess what? The only “something” is ME. Enter the Columbus Ten.
Ten. That is the number of pounds I have gained in the past year. And that does not seem like a huge number to some people, but I worked SO hard to lose them. I never wanted to find them again. But they crept right back in. Slowly. To put this year into perspective, I think it is important to star with ten things I LOVE about this new life.
I am closer to my family. I get to see them on a weekly basis. I can pop by for coffee or breakfast when I want to. My brother and his family surprise me at work. I forgot how much I missed them, and how much we laugh together. A LOT. I even got to experience my dad doing a spit take.
Last year, just as I found out I was moving home (and after 34 years of not so patiently waiting), I met the best man in the world. He is an incredible partner, and I love him more every single day.
The initiative for this move was work. I feel incredibly fortunate to be in a supportive environment that is allowing me to grow, has actively supported my professional development, and challenges me every day while still being *fun*.
When I moved back, I stayed with my brother for a few months. After saving up some money and having a move-out date in mind, an apartment pretty much fell in to my lap. I joined a discussion group on Facebook for the area I wanted to live in, expressed interest in an apartment, and got feedback all within a week. Contacted the landlord, loved the place, moved in exactly when I wanted to. The apartment doesn’t have anything on the walls yet, but it is mostly unpacked and feels like home. The best part about it though, is location. I can walk for coffee, there’s a great beer store on the corner, and restaurants all around. Biggest perk: Steps away from a fantastic running trail.
This sounds crazy, but I love my commute. When I lived in Chicago, it was always necessary to build quite a buffer in to travel time because so many factors were unpredictable. How long would I have to wait for a train? Would that train even be running today? If I leave at 8:00 it won’t be crowded, but if I leave at 8:15 there won’t be a seat by the time I get on. Is it raining? Snowing? Did I get paid this week? Then I’m takin’ the METRA! Now, I know how long it will take, I consume books on CD like they are sustenance, and I love my car time. I do, I really do. I equally love living somewhere where I don’t have to rely on her all the time, but I love having a car!
The food scene. It’s unreal. New restaurants open every day. New food trucks are being born every minute. I am lucky enough to have an adventurous dining partner, and it has been fantastic. In fact, I am starting a new blog about it. Still gathering content, but honestly, let me just tell you, Columbus is a Foodie’s best kept secret.
Equally as exciting, we are on the hub of craft brewing. New breweries have been coming up over the past five years, and their product is remarkable. Seventh Son does us all proud, Columbus Brewing Company has been producing SOLID beers for years, Zauber is amazing at promoting their product with street parties, and we have craft beer bars galore. Columbus has some strange liquor laws, but they have that beat with their bottle shops. Between Growl!, Studio 35, The Daily Growler, Savor Growl, and the old standby of Barley’s (who really paved the way for a lot of this), we are in a mecca of delicious beer.
I was 24 when I moved to Chicago. I had graduated college, did the cliche travel to Europe, and then started my “real life.” Several of my high school and college friends made their homes in Columbus, and I missed them intensely. I had the chance to visit often, and the resulting group that I kept in touch with has remained a solidly important part of my life. I have been happy to spend more time with them, get re-acquainted with them, and watch their families grow. It has been amazing!
Over the past three years, running has simply become part of who I am. CARA was a great group, and once I joined them for a training session, I knew that group training was right for me. I met a lot of fun people, and friends I hope to keep in touch with for a long time. When I moved back, I dabbled with a few MeetUp groups to try and meet new runners. That was harder than expected because they all ended up being way faster than me. So I would run on my own, with a group. Defeats the purpose of running with a group. So my solution was to jump in feet first and sign up for a marathon. There were a few training group options, mostly out of local running stores, and to be honest I went with FrontRunner simply because Sunday long runs fit better with my work schedule. Even when I have to be at the library on a Sunday, I could still fit in those 18 milers [I did that once, it was not pretty and I had to take the elevator up and down a single flight of stairs all day.] That session went well, and so I signed up for the summer session to train for a half marathon this October. I lost my running buddy, but that has force me out of my shell a bit, so I have to talk to new people. No, I GET to talk to new people! It is a small step toward establishing new friendships, which has proven harder than expected. But we’re getting there!
In the past year, I have had the chance to visit Chicago three times. It’s REALLY not that far. Aside from that, the marathon I ran was in Cleveland, which was just a 2 hour drive away. We are surrounded by Metro Parks, and can be to the beautiful Hocking Hills/Athens area within an hour. I have been to concerts, music festivals, art shows and much more, and none of it is ever very far away. While in Chicago, I flew everywhere, which got pricey if I just wanted a few days away. That being said, I also haven’t been on a plane in over a year and I am starting to get itchy feet to get somewhere far away!
This is my Columbus Ten. My ten favorite things. So how will I get rid of the pesky ten that I no longer want? Stay tuned for Part Two.