The What-if Game

I spent the weekend in Madison. I loved my life in Madison. It wasn’t just my college town, it was the place that I came into my own. I stayed after college. It was the place of my first real job. It was fun to discover a whole new Madison once I graduated and didn’t live in my UW bubble. I left Madison just over three years ago, although it seems like a lifetime ago.

One thing that was a big part of my life was joining Madison Multisport. I went from making up random swimming-biking-running training “plans” to training with other people with a coach. People who were training for all distances from sprint triathlons to Ironman Wisconsin. I found something to do other than work. It was a fantastic year training and competing with them. I also credit my tri coach for me becoming a runner or realizing that I could be a runner. She was the one who told me that I could run more than a 5k. She helped me believe in my own athletic ability.

By the time I left Madison a lot of my college friends were gone. I had made friends on the team. We bonded. I shared something with these people. I flew back to Madison three weeks after moving to DC to support and cheer for everyone doing Ironman Wisconsin. It was a bit strange to fly home so soon after moving across the country, but it was a fantastic decision.

I moved to DC for graduate school so meeting people wasn’t too difficult, it was just I met only people I went to school with. That was great as I was getting settled. I found a few running groups, but with evening classes it was really difficult to ever meet up with people to run. When my course schedule finally changed I was able to join a running group. Those were some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. I went from running 1-2 times a week with them to going on vacations and spending my weekends with them. When I left DC I felt like I was leaving family.

Back to my weekend in Madison. I started playing the what-if game while running. I basically ran down memory lane on Sunday. I started near the house I lived in senior year, went past the apartment we lived in junior year and then ended up running past my freshman dorm. It just happened that I also got to run on part of the Ironman Wisconsin course. The what-if game is a dangerous game to play.

What if I had never left Madison?
What if I had stayed and continued my triathlon training?
What if I had never met my amazing friends in DC?
What if I had never left DC?
What if I moved back to Madison?
What if…


Well, I had too much time to think. And I have never been one to be able to turn my mind off.

I have been back in Wisconsin since January and feel settled into my routine, but I don’t really think I am settled with my life. I love being in Madison. I would move back to DC tomorrow if I could. I would move to Madison for the right job.

So come more questions:

Am I just unsettled? Do I just need to give it time? What am I waiting for?

It’s not that I don’t have friends here. It’s not that I don’t have things going on. I enjoy being closer to my family. I love being able to drive over to Madison for Badger games. I just feel like I am looking for something and I don’t know what it is.

Basically all I figured out this weekend is I am once again trying to find myself.

I am still running toward something new.

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