This weekend, I’m heading back up to Iowa, not just to see Dave, but also to spend a weekend on the farm with my dear friends from middle school geek camp. Last August, we had a wonderful gathering. It was our first time in twenty-five years to hang out together. That weekend went a long way towards lifting my spirits and making me hopeful for the future as I faced turning 40 and being alone.
Shortly after that weekend, I bought my ticket to Africa and committed to challenging myself in new way. Then I made the decision to get unstuck in my personal life, and I started to think of my path, not as a broken one where I found myself unexpectedly alone, but as one of opportunity. Then I started to think that maybe I would find love again. I saw my confidence rebuilding, and I started to see glimpses of my old self – the optimistic person I once was. I had hiccups where I fell back into old fears and insecurities, but mostly I took steps forward, opening my life back up to people I trusted.
Now, I just feel well all around. 40 has been kind to me. Work is going well. Training is going well and is still super fun for me. I get to race my fifth Ironman in just under six weeks. Most importantly – and thanks to my friends who live on the farm – I’ve met someone I adore with my whole heart and trust even more. So much has changed in just nine months.
When we were planning the last gathering, our hosts offered to have everyone stay in their home. Team Andy, which consisted of Andy, his wife Laura Lynn and their six kids, hosted and offered each team a space of their own. Team Kate was Kate and her two girls. Team John was John and his two kids. Team Taline was just me. As we were planning, I remember the twinge of feeling alone in my team of one. This time, I won’t be a team of one. I’ll have Dave with me.
Though I’ve been back to the farm a number of times since last August, this will be the first time the four old friends and the four teams are back together. We will all get to meet Kate’s husband, and Kate and John will get to meet Dave. I can’t wait.