The sun was setting, the temps were dropping quickly, and I’d just finished another beautiful run on my favorite Boulder Open Space trail.
I hobbled back to my car, picked up my phone and called my cousin. I was still breathing hard, still sweating, and the bottoms of my feet were still humming. I wiped droplets from my temples and forehead with my sleeve.
“Hey! How are ya?”
She picked up after a few rings, and just the sound of her voice made me miss her. She and her husband just moved back to New York from Colorado. They’re the ones who rescued me.
It was October 4th, and I called just to thank her. I thought about her every step and every mile of my trail run. I thought about how badly I wanted to throw my arms around her and sob into her shoulder. But none of that would’ve been enough for what she gave me: another shot at happiness.
“I’m doing great! And actually, I just wanted to call because…”
The floodgates opened, and I started crying. Sweat mixed with tears on my cheeks.
“I called to thank you. Because…I moved in with you one year ago today…and…”
“…you saved my life. And I mean it. You and Matt. And I can’t thank you enough.”
I went on and on, I’m sure. And by the end we were both crying.
She calls me Linds like a best friend would, and I love it.
On October 4th, 2017, I arrived in Colorado, just one day shy of my goal: my birthday. After 1,800 solo miles on the road, I pulled onto Jefferson Ave. in front of the cutest and shabbiest little mint-colored home I’ve ever seen. It was sunny and breezy and the air was different in Colorado than it was the last time I got out of the car in Kansas. It was crisp; summer was on its way out, and fall was slowing rolling in. I leaned against the driver’s side, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I was ready for change—it’s what I came here for—and I was about to get it.
One year ago I was the worst combination of heartbroken and lonely. I couldn’t forgive myself for hurting the only person I’ve ever loved. I woke up sad about it. I took sleeping pills so I wouldn’t think about it all night. It made me sick, and I didn’t know how to be happy in Florida anymore. So when my cousin invited me to live with her in Colorado, I took her up on it, promising myself I’d do things differently. If I was going to make this huge move, I’d work on forgiving myself, I’d treat others differently, and I’d make happiness my number one priority.
And I did. I did it all. I quit the advertising world for a bit (though I’ve since started freelancing just twice per week for a digital shop in Denver), got a job at Rapha, started trail running again, threw myself into group rides, attended clubhouse events, did some big mountain hikes, made so many amazing friends, started dating and then watched that crash and burn, and eventually moved from Louisville to Boulder in 2018. I turned into the person I’ve wanted to be for years, and I’m proud of her.
Through all of this starting over, I realized healing heartbreak takes time. And I realized that I still love the only person I’ve ever loved. I love him so goddamn much.
My cousin and I talked for about 20 more minutes. I stretched a little more, promised to check in more often, then got in my car and headed home.
It feels real for the first time in awhile. I think I’ll stay. Here’s to many more years.
Push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>