The Lessons I Learned In 2012

I think maybe I’ve mentioned once or twice that 2012 just never quite felt like my year. A running injury plagued the early months…

Just because it’s not a stress fracture (thank goodness) doesn’t mean it won’t hurt like hell.

…and from March through August I had that nagging Crohn’s flare-up that refused to quit.

Crohn’s, Crohn’s, go away. Come again some other…never.

But it wasn’t just my life that seemed daunting at times. The world, in general, was far from at peace in 2012. There were heartbreaking mass murders, people pushing other people to their deaths on the subway tracks, and natural disasters ripping entire communities to devastation.

This was not an easy year for many people.

Ultimately, of course, the year turned out pretty OK for me. Amidst the struggles, there were some awesomely life-changing developments.

In April, Brian and I moved in together.

Move-in day! I was “injured” so I “couldn’t help.” Sorry!

In May, I met my new best friend, who instantly made my world a million times better.

Here is Tyler as a football. Don’t worry. He’ll grow into it.

By the time summer arrived, I had been promoted at work — editor in chief of my favorite magazine! — and served as maid of honor in my childhood best friend’s wedding.

And at the end of the summer, I was finally admitted to the hospital where my doctor gave me new drugs to end that pesky Crohn’s flare for a while.

When fall — my favorite season — kicked into high, colorful gear, I was feeling good. I was running again. I was even racing again.

My return to the Hamptons for the Hamptons Half Marathon in September. A perfect day.

I was traveling a lot for work and I was finally feeling stable.

Wrapping up the year with a ton of family time and a marathon PR was the peanut butter-flavored icing on my proverbial cupcake.

I’m big on doing the whole year end reflection thing. I love analyzing all that shit.

If I were to wrap up 2012 with a few words, I’d go with growth, strength, self-awareness and, simply, tough.

I feel like I struggled a lot in 2012, but those challenges, as much as I hated them, made me a stronger person.

And the lessons I learned? There were plenty of them.

I like to cook! Remember how one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to “cook a new, legitimate dish once per month?” And remember how I cursed that resolution repeatedly. Turns out…I liked it. I liked trying new things and I truly do enjoy being in the kitchen, following a recipe and then getting to chow down on the good thing I whipped up. I look forward to cooking more in the future because I want to, not because I forced myself to.

I specifically like cooking things that are described as “easy” or “done in just 30 minutes.”

I hate to grocery shop. That is why I never want to cook. If I lived in the suburbs, I bet I’d love grocery shopping, with those fancy carts and wide aisles and parking spaces for your car. But in the city, grocery shopping is a bitch. Fairway is a great grocery store, and I guess it’s reasonably priced for NYC, but it’s just far enough that I can’t carry a huge load of stuff back home. Also it’s crowded. Always. And the people there are nasty. They will push you to get ahead in the deli line. It’s un-fun and it scares me.

I enjoy racing! In moderation. Last year, I burned out on racing because I was doing the New York Road Runners 9+1 program. By the end of that year, the thought of pinning on a bib and latching a D-tag to my shoes was puke-inducing.

This year, I did one race in January with friends…

It’s weird that our outfits matched because we did not plan that.

…and then didn’t race again until September. That huge break in racing reminded me of how fun it can be when it’s something you want to do…not something you have to do.

I hope to race more in 2013. I don’t know which distances I’ll be aiming for and I don’t have a single race planned for the year. But I think I’ll be back in the spirit of bib pinning and D-tagging.

I’m more in control of my life than I think sometimes. I’ve learned that while I may not be able to control specific situations, I can control how I react to them.

OK, I didn’t learn this lesson as much as Brian shoved this lesson down my throat and forced me to accept it. One too many freakouts over “things I can’t control” led to a few sit-down discussions about life and also my severe, obnoxious anxiety.

Thanks for the life lessons, Bri. Good man. Also, thanks for putting up with all my crap this year. I think it’s cute that you haven’t moved out.

But this is a good one and it really has changed how I act when things don’t go my way.

Like last Friday, as Brian and I were on the MegaBus from Boston to NYC. We decided to “be frugal” and not fly or take the precious train. And naturally that was dumb. Because we sat in so much traffic that the bus ride took eight hours (it should only take four hours).

Around hour 6.5, I started to get pissed. Why was the bus taking so long? Why didn’t the MegaBus driver know a super secret back way to the city? Why couldn’t we blaze a tunnel to transport us to the city?

Naturally, in the seat to my right, Brian was totally chill about this. His face wasn’t red hot from rage and he was just sitting there, trying (unsuccessfully) to beat my Bejeweled high score. As I demanded he, too, get upset with me, he pulled the classic line: “Yeah, it sucks. But what can you do about it?”

Oh, right. Nothing. I can’t move the cars on 95 South. I can’t get out and run to the city, unfortunately. So I whipped out my own game of Bejeweled, rolled with it, and listened to outstandingly loud techno music.

It’s up to me to determine how much negativity to allow in my life. And I choose “little to none.”

There are people in life who enjoy and thrive off being angry. There are people who will bring their own unhappiness into your life. You can be around these people or you can not be around these people. This year, I distanced myself from a few of the people in my life who were massively bringing me down. I’m better for it. I choose to be happy.

I can do a handstand! I made this stupid New Year’s Resolution to do a handstand, and up until yesterday I hadn’t given it an honest shot. But then, I told Brian to “spot me and not let me die,” which to him meant “stand guard and protect the flat screen.” It took a few attempts, but then I held a handstand — unsupported — for just a few good enough seconds.

I should’ve picked a cuter outfit. Thank you, Brian, for capturing this moment for posterity.

It’s silly to dwell on the little details in life when the big picture is so good. Like, OK, I don’t necessarily agree with every decision made by the higher-ups at the company I work for. And those things used to drive me crazy, as I’m sure everyone in this world can relate. But…so? I love my job. I love the work I do and I love my staff. Isn’t that more important than getting annoyed about a fifth email reminding me to label my food in the refrigerator?

I love my job. The minor details aren’t so important then.

I cannot eat a green apple and not burp afterward. I eat at least one of these at the office every day.

Oh sweet (or sour), delicious nature’s candy. I love you. You have weird side effects, though.

I always, unintentionally, burp afterward. I realize it’s disgusting. I’ve tried to kick the habit but I can’t. It’s involuntary. So I guess I’m giving up. I will eat my Granny Smith, damnit, and I will burp as needed. (Also,  is it just me? Or is this a thing?)

Just because something affects you every day of your life doesn’t mean it defines you. For a long time this year, I felt like Crohn’s disease did define me because it affected every single thing I did every day. It was on the forefront of my mind every second of every day.

It was a phase. These days, Crohn’s isn’t something that controls my every move, and I’m so thankful for that.

I need to stop trying to plan everything. Turns out, the best things in life can happen when plans go awry.

The best moment of the year was seeing Tyler at mile 18 of the Manchester City Marathon.

That’s a wrap, 2012! Thanks for the challenges, thanks for the good times and thank you for pushing me to my limits — and helping me realize that my limits can be significantly pushed.

We had an OK run, 2012, and I am so damn glad you’re over.

Let’s do this, 2013!

WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN 2013? Share your best lessons. I love this stuff.



26 Responses

  1. Ali, you have GOT to get on the freshdirect bandwagon! iT’S AMAZING – they bring your groceries right to your door. Seriously. I hate grocery shopping and i love online shopping. So guess how we actually get food in the house each week?

  2. At some point I realized that Granny Smiths taste like poison compared to Pink Ladies, and I have never looked back. No sour, no burping. In 2013 I want to learn why I have these awful allergic skin rashes and how to avoid them. I want to eat less dairy and see if that actually makes me feel better. I want to do most of my exercising outside and not cooped up in a stinky room. That’s it!

  3. Have followed your blog since sometime last year and throughout the year watched you battled your “demons” but the highlight and the moment I was most happy and proud about was watching you PR the marathon with Em. Thank you for allowing me to follow your blog and journey. It has been inspiring.

  4. I learned a lot about myself by just being honest with and listening to myself (cool, now I sound crazy). Yeah, I think that’s the easiest way to sum it up.

    Happy and HEALTHY New Year!

    PS: I think I need someone like Brian around to remind me about not being pissed (on the bus).

  5. Great recap of what looks like a fabulous year! It always boggles my mind what can change in such a short time, right? Best lesson of this year for me was that everything I need to be happy, I already have 🙂 Happy 2013!

  6. I love your recap Ali! You have had a heck of a year, but are ending on such a high note. I am so happy you have the man that grounds you – M grounds me too, as I would be totally pissed on that bus too and he would have said the EXACT same that Brian said, and he’s right. darn those smart men 😉 Cheers to 2013!!

  7. Great lessons learned. I love this post. The one that stands out most for me is: “I’ve learned that while I may not be able to control specific situation, I can control how I react to them”

    Keep calm and chive on!

  8. In 2012 I learned (finally) to stop comparing myself to others and be happy in my own life. And that wine will freeze if you store it in the theater. Random, but true.

  9. What a great recap! This was by far the hardest year of my life. Well either this year or 7th grade. Oh yuck, 7th grade. But from the challenges I grew stronger. I learned a lot about being an adult. I also learned how truly blessed I am. When I fall down (and hard) there are these amazing people in my life that make me get back up. And I LOVE grocery shopping. I also have to carry my groceries home but that only means I get to do it more often! But I HATE laundry. ALOT. To each their own hates : )

  10. You get emails about the refrigerator at work too?!? (Haha I promise that’s not the only thing I got out of this post.)

    This is my favorite thing you said: It’s up to me to determine how much negativity to allow in my life. And I choose “little to none.”

    I love this. I’ve been trying to focus on controlling my attitude and not dwelling on the negatives as well. It’s life-changing.

    Cheers to an even better 2013 🙂

  11. Happy New Year, Ali!! And Brian.

    This year, I learned how to run a bit faster, how to potty train, the difference between ‘were’ and ‘was’ and how to order coffee, tea, wine and a chocolate chip scone in Japanese. I also learned some of my own personal failings. It was a good year, everyone I love is healthy. And I also got a fresh glimpse into Christmas this year, due to the sadness and darkness in the world.
    Looking forward to 2013.

  12. Happy New Year Ali!!! In 2012 I started my blog, and it opened me up to a WHOLE new world that I didn’t even know existed. The best lesson I learned this year was that blogging gives you support like no other- every time I was down I got so much support from the blogging community it brought me back up again! 🙂

  13. 2012 was the year I discovered my love for long distance running. I ran 2 half marathons (including my first) and beat my first race’s time by 12 minutes in my second race. I also learned that I need to be nicer to my body. Injuries definitely make you sit back and realize a few things. Happy new year Ali!

  14. Your “eating an apple and burping” thing made me laugh. I say all the time that swimming in a pool makes me burp and no one believes me! I don’t burp a lot anyway, but I burp constantly when I’m swimming!!!
    So I guess I learned this year that I don’t care if people believe me when I say I burp when I swim! People burp at weird times! It happens!!

  15. 2012 was a year of growth for me. It has ended on an awesome high note (I got married 🙂 ) so all the other tough times have somewhat faded away.

    I absolutely love when you said this: “It’s up to me to determine how much negativity to allow in my life. And I choose “little to none.” That will be my 2013 motto!

  16. Apples are the #1 food I cannot eat since getting sick with my GI issues. They do make strange things happen! Remember when we went to Refine and got pedicures two years ago today? Aww.

  17. Apples make me burp too! Not just the green ones, but all apples. I also eat an apple every day, but it’s usually on my car ride home so no one else has to be grossed out by my uncontrollable belches.

  18. 2012 was a tough year for me emotionally. My husband deployed for the third time and it was extremely tough on our relationship. We made it and have worked on our marriage so much since then but I can’t forget all those nights where I cried myself to sleep wondering what the future would hold for us. It’s nice looking back and seeing that we DID make it and we DID work through everything but at the time… man, it was ROUGH. I’m so damn glad 2012 is almost over!

  19. I could not eat green apples while pregnant because they give me indigestion, which people found hard to believe. I enjoyed your entire post, but sadly the bit about burping pleased me the most.

  20. Happy New Year, Ali!
    I unfortunately learned a lot about loss of loved ones and time healing wounds. I also learned how incredibly important sleep can be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

listen to the podcast

about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
  • Post Date

related posts



Answering questions about my dream home, dream podcast guests, and dreams for the future.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.