As 2009 comes to a close, I can't help but think back to this time last year and marvel at how far I've come. Last year nearly broke me. The dark months were really dark and grief penetrated everything. It left me without the desire to ride or race, broke me down into less than half of what I was. But I think part of the healing process is going down into the dark depths of your soul, to depths that are not normal and consuming in order to feel what it's like to be normal again.
I think back on this year and remember some difficult times - times when I couldn't move or get out of bed, immobilized by loss of my partner, identity and part of my soul. To go to such depths make you realize how fortunate you are when things are normal and going according to plan. They paint the bigger picture in such clarity that I couldn't help but scoff at people sweating the small things in life. But we need those small things when things are going according to plan - to remind us that life is short and unpredictable.
This winter, which won't be officially winter until the 21st, I've been attacking my training with the passion I once felt. Pushing through the dark, cold, wet miles with goals in mind and keeping my focus. Grief no longer penetrates my every thought or move, but allows me to keep it at bay and acknowledge on my terms.
Last New Year's I felt like I HAD to get certain things done. Had to travel, visit the places to make me feel a little better. Spend less time at home with the constant reminders of what was missing. And the only thing that really helped was time itself. Time to repair my mind and soul.
Slowly I started to feel like myself again. Two steps forward, one step back. And in this slow fashion, when I look back at the past year I realize I climbed a mountain. An impossible mountain with lots of unforeseen challenges and false summits. I am thankful for this journey and the lessons it has taught me and continues to. But dammit, I'm STOKED for a new year, let alone a new decade.