The final week of March will be spent at home, in Buffalo, back among my bed, my stuff, my friends and well, my life. But until this week, I had spent just 120 hours at home in March. Between the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team and my adventure with Becoming an Outdoorswoman, I was constantly traveling. Upon my return home from the NCAA women’s basketball regional in Raleigh, N.C., I checked in on Foursquare. The social media application informed me that it was the fourth straight week I had checked into the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. I laughed out loud.
Yep. I would very much like to sleep for an entire week right now. Thank you March. Because this whirlwind was exactly what I needed.
Let me walk you back to February. For the record, I’ve never been a fan of February. Yes, it’s the shortest month on the calendar, but it feels so long and it’s cold and dark and a grind. But this February gave me a special punch in the gut. It started when my boyfriend ended our two-year relationship. Cue the badly broken heart and plenty of self-judgement and doubt. Right in the pit of that pain, I got the news that my dad was diagnosed with very early stages of cancer. “I always assumed if you lived long enough, you’d have to deal with some kind of cancer at some point,” my 71-year old father said. The early detection means he’s going to be just fine and his treatments are going well. Still, the universe had knocked me around pretty good on the emotional front for the better part of February. And I admit, it was not my finest hour.
Then came the saving grace of March. It wasn’t just that March kept me busy so that my mind avoided its usual negative tailspin. It wasn’t about avoiding the feelings of pain and uncertainty. I had felt those feelings through all of February. Instead, it was about not staying stuck, about not following those particular emotions and thoughts. It was about choosing where to put my focus.
It started with the sea lions in the Sea of Cortez. While on my trip to Baja, I had no cell phone reception, no 3G service. My smart phone was useless and to my surprise, found myself unplugging from constant connection rather easily. I couldn’t check Facebook, Twitter or email. All I could do was take in the beauty of Baja, the friendliness and genuineness of the people around me and dive into the experiences offered to me. I became immersed in the wonder of nature and the passion of adventure.
It was the perfect set-up for a whirlwind two weeks with the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team, which made the NCAA tournament for the first time. Ever. Then they made the most of their opportunity by winning two games and advancing to the Sweet 16. While it was fun to watch, it was exhausting work as a reporter. On typical days I wrote three stories, did a live chat or live blog with readers and recorded a podcast for the newspaper’s website. But this was work I love. This was work which brought me enjoyment and satisfaction, not just because the team I was covering was winning, but because I got to tell their story. And that is what I love about writing about women’s sports — giving a voice to people who normally don’t get heard in the grand scheme of modern media.
Back home at the comfort of my own desk in my messy home office, I tore through my desk calendar to read today’s mantra: This is a new day; I am a new me.
That is the perfect description of what the universe opened up for me this month. Life didn’t just keep me busy so I couldn’t think about lost love or medical treatments. Life gave me the opportunity to embrace the moment in front of me, to make choices which best align with who I am. It gave me a chance to connect with myself and to find joy.