When the calendar turned over to 2019, I was ready to hit the ground running (literally and figuratively). I had some great networking experiences in the last month and felt I was on the cusp of some fabulous new things. I followed up on connections made and set up next steps. The only problem was this trip to New Jersey.
I had been looking forward to this trip back “home” basically since I moved to Illinois. I have my annual mammogram and check-in with my oncology team at Memorial Sloan Kettering at this time of year. This appointment was scheduled a year ago when I wasn’t even sure I would be able to keep it. It became a good excuse for a trip back east.
Since I’m just shy of being a five-year survivor, it felt better staying with my team at MSKCC and it was a reason to enjoy the company of my female friends – probably the only thing I am genuinely missing about New Jersey – which is so important for our mental health as women (read what I wrote about that here). But going into the trip I was a little ambivalent about it. It felt like a distraction from my New Year’s goals.
That couldn’t be further from the truth than what transpired. Reconnecting with friends. Running old running routes including a trip on foot over the George Washington Bridge. Taking a meditative hike in the Ramapo Mountains. It was all so good for the soul. It was exactly what I needed to create the right mental state moving into the year ahead.
Several friends asked me if it felt weird to be back. No, it didn’t. Especially since I was driving my own car, it actually felt like I had never left. There were a few times when I caught myself. Not unlike those times after my dad died and I found myself reaching for the phone when I thought of something I wanted to share with him. When I was packing, I caught myself thinking for a split second, “do you have your house keys, you haven’t used them in a while.” LOL You don’t own that house anymore, Mary!
There was one time I drove past the old place and thought, “whose car is that in MY driveway?!?” You don’t own that house anymore, Mary! The reality didn’t make me feel sad, though. It was a nice reminder of how far we’ve come. I drove past the high school a few times on my travels around town – that beautiful brick building perched at the top Main Street – reflecting on how it is now in our past; after so many years of waiting for it to be in our future.
I love northern New Jersey. It is my childhood home and my daughter’s childhood home. I love that we share that. I love that I can always go there, find friends and feel at home. Last night when I drove into Chicago though, I had that feeling: It’s good to be home. It’s good to be falling asleep in my own bed. And my bed – my home – is in Chicago.
With a renewed energy (and continued good test results from MSKCC!), I am now poised to achieve my goals in 2019….please keep reading for inspiration, motivation, and at the very least, some relatable tales.