It has been an interesting 6 months to say the least. Besides the bureaucracy of still dealing with endless paperwork I find myself moving forward. The steps are incremental but nonetheless occurring.
I had a fear that the impending winter would be difficult. This would be my first winter spent alone and growing up in San Francisco I do not have the "inherent" cold weather skills built into my gene pool. However like everything else, you just learn by doing. Freezing temperatures, snow and ice, short days and plentiful grey skies are just part of the deal here in Belgium and in a strange way seems so natural..Growing up in California I really never knew the seasons. Just fog, sun and rain.
I am constantly asked but why did you move HERE? And to that I like to look them in the eye and say "the weather."
Novemeber was a pivotal month. It was then that I set forth a game plan, some goals to help get me through this new journey of healing. Goal setting, making a plan of action, figuring out the details and putting them to action is my way. I am at my best when I am accountable and found that by adapting this method in my life as a teenager I was able to accomplish whatever I set forth. It was clearly time again.
Since Belgium is full of bureaucratic slowness, I am learning patience. So as I wait, I realized I NEED to take care of ME. I know it will take time for my heart to heal and I really have no idea how long or ever but do know that I must listen to my intuition. No one can tell me how to feel, no one can really get that so I don't let that interfere. Therefore, I do what feels right.
To honor Yves I have set forth to compete (once again) in the Marmotte. This is a special one day cycling event which races over some of the famous mountain passes of the Tour de France and is 175km and 5000 meters of climbing. both Yves and I had done it (in different years) but discussed doing it again in 2012. I jokingly said to him, I will REALLY train and get back into my best shape. Well now, I truly aspire to. Of course I am 8 years older than my first Marmotte but the will and focus is there. I also have more challenges that I live in not only a winter climate but a flat one! So, once the seasons change I will set out on many road trips etc to get the climbing back into these legs. In the meantime, I am hitting it hard in the gym, spending lots of time on my indoor bike trainer and I cleaned up my diet. For what ever reasons the last few years the diet fell of track. I started eating lots of sugar etc and the kgs. starting creeping up. Strange how, by just being focused and changing habits the weight is falling off. In only 6 weeks I am back to where I haven't been in a few years! My energy is back up, my hair is growing back and the best part is feeling better about my body..
I will not be doing the Marmotte alone, a number of his team mates and my bike friends are also joining in. It will be a monumental trip. The most important thing to me is that I plan to spread some of his ashes on all the famous cols the week before the event. He deserves the honor and I need to do this as part of my healing to him. We spent 2 weeks riding together there in 2010 and I will always cherish those memories.
In the meantime, I have become a hermit these days but that is what feels right. Between training, teaching at the gym, going to school and occasionally seeing the children, I prefer to be home alone. I see it as part of the process and know in time that will change.
So I look to all of this and choose to see the positives: I have changed my eating habits, lost and losing weight, getting fitter, feeling overall strong and healthier, teaching and sharing my love and knowledge for health and fitness, getting more proficient in Flemish as I don't have Yves to translate or speak English with, and giving myself time/space to just be. I sob when it calls to me, vent my anger through my focused workouts and I try daily to live by the ethics and morals my Yves bestowed on me. His spirit lives on in my heart and body. I will make him proud.
So in the great words of one of my hero's Maya Angelou
" I rise