February started off pretty, well…February-ish. Quiet. Dull. Going through the motions, but peppered with a few fun things here and there.
We went to the outdoor street festival, Mittenfest:
There were a few Friday evenings with friends and beers:
And there was running:
We went to a wedding at one of my favorite places in Milwaukee, the Best Place at the historic Pabst brewery:
And cats were cats:
Midway through the month, we got a freak heat wave here in the Midwest, with a string of days that saw record-breaking highs in the 50s and 60s. It was as if the record that played through the seasons was suddenly skipping – restaurants brought out their patio seating, people shed jackets and went out in shorts, birds chirped, the scent of bonfires and grills lurked among streets. In February, in Wisconsin.
Right around this time, Kevin and I began the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan and looking at houses. It’s something we’ve been dreaming and talking about forever, and we finally hit our tipping point and jump-started the process. Things started to happen fast – we met with a realtor, saw some properties and within a week were *gulp* putting in an offer!
Then, midway through the afternoon of Thursday, February 23rd, we got word that our offer was accepted by the seller.
So much for a month of going through the motions.
Goals/Resolutions Progress Report
- Grow in my minimalism practice: I decluttered my closet and created a capsule wardrobe! Post coming soon!
- Read 36 books in 2017: My reading momentum died down quite a bit in February. I actually went a couple whole weeks without getting much of it done, because I just was never in the mood to crack open my book. Once again, due to timing I only read one full book this month: Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, a light and humorous novel about a notoriously curmudgeonly man, his spirited and motley crew of neighbors, and the unlikely friendships the develop. Before that, I finished a book I started in January, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, historical fiction about the different ways in which two sisters deal with – and resist – Nazi occupation of France during WWII. Then, after I finally finished A Man Called Ove, I started Ben Winters’ Underground Airlines, a present-day novel that imagines America just as it is now, save for one little difference: the Civil War never happened, and slavery still exists in 4 states. I also broke my rule about reading 2 books at a time and started Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home, a nonfiction account of one family’s quest to minimize their household waste and get closer to a “zero waste home” (she has a blog if you’re interested; that’s what interested me in the book!) So, I’m still not caught up to where I “should” be to be on track for my goal, but at least I’m not really any farther behind.
- Cleaning up my diet: We did well on this the first week of February and then kinda fell off the wagon.
Running and fitness have gone okay. Not great, but not bad either. Just sorta hangin’ in there. The dark cold winter climate has made it really hard to stay motivated, and I didn’t even realize how much of an effect it was having until we had that freak spell of spring weather this month.
With some long runs in the books now, I am feeling a lot more confident that I can complete the Canyonlands Half Marathon without issue in a couple weeks. However, I am coming to terms with the reality that with my 16-24 mile training weeks, I’m going to get a pretty shitty time. Maybe that will be good for me, though. Maybe the experience of running a personal worst and then seeing that life goes on afterwards will force me to get over my neverending battle with race performance anxiety.
The days of being able to revolve so much of my life around training are coming to an end. Changes in priorities, finances, and the demands on my time will be forcing running into a different role in my life. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. My life these past couple years has suffered from a lack of momentum, and for a while, pouring myself into race training was a way of filling the void created by boredom. Well, boredom’s not going to be a problem for me in the near future, and my hope is that my relationship with running will actually improve now that I’ll be using it as my “me time”. I’ve always said I’m not one of those “running is my therapy” people, but maybe that will change too. The good news is that if things go according to plan with our closing process (FINGERS CROSSED), we will be moved to our new home well before marathon training starts in June, so while I’ll still be busy and stressed this summer I’m hoping it won’t affect my training too much. Although I suppose I should cross my fingers for that, too.
Improvements for March
I decided to put this section in my monthly recaps because I thought it would be good to use the happenings of the outgoing month to formulate constructive ideas for what I can do going forward, instead of just making these sweeping declarations of “this month is gonna be all about this and this and this!”
But now it seems a little silly that the only thing I would say about the upcoming month is how I’m going to be better at diet and decluttering goals and following a training plan, you know? So, I’m going to skip the “improvements” this time around.
This will be a very eventful month for me. Late in the morning of Sunday, March 12th, I will officially turn 30 years old. I’m already getting one heck of a birthday present, but then the next day we board a plane for Utah to spend the week exploring Zion and then Canyonlands and/or Arches National Parks, a vacation we will cap off with my running of the Canyonlands Half Marathon – my first race of 2017 and my first in over 5 months.
In the meantime, we have a lot – and I do mean a lot – of work to do to be ready to move in 5 weeks (our closing date on the home is the first week in April!). We will need to work our butts off to pare down our belongings and get ready to move out, and on the other side of things, there is much to be done to prepare for closing.
We have our accepted offer, we’ve had the inspection, but we still have a couple more hoops to jump through before we can officially exhale and call this house ours. Everything seems to be going swimmingly so far and will likely work out just fine, but I’m still terrified that I’m going to jinx this somehow and it’s going to be snatched away from us. Let’s just say I will be holding my breath nonstop for the next 5 weeks.
But, allowing myself to think positively for just a moment, I’m excited for the opportunities this new chapter will bring. Call me vain for thinking of this, but new homeowner follies will make for great blog content, obviously. It will be a good fresh start for us on our minimalism journey, as we are not only forced to pare down our belongings and our budget, but more importantly, to think about how we want our home to function and what values and lifestyle we want it to embody and reflect. And the work that lies ahead of us – oh, the work. We will be busy, and broke, and a little stressed. But I’m excited for that too. I think it will feel good for me to throw myself into something new. I’m ready for the challenge of it all.