The year 2013 went tits up in Rhal-land and turned out to be one of the toughest, most painful and yet necessary years of my life. After battling with poverty, injury, isolation, heartbreak and relocating from Scotland back to the greatest city in the world, although I learned a lot about myself, something has to change. As the year of hard knocks draws to a close, it’s time to sort my shit out and make some plans.
Returning to London has been bittersweet. I am so happy to be close to my friends and family and ecstatic to be back running after months of injury. But I’m also haunted by a sense of failure, sad to leave some special people behind and frustrated at reaching this point in my life (34.5) with no fucking clue what’s going on.
I always assumed I’d have a house, husband, career and gaggle of chubby babies by now. The truth is, the most expensive thing I possess is a pink BMX and my wardrobe consists largely of £3.99 H&M Lycra miniskirts. I live off hummus and I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent next month. To that end, I’ve decided to write a plan of my hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. Behold the launch of the official year of Rhalou. I hereby give you all permission to remind me to stick to the plan if July rolls around and I’m still slogging out in budget Lycra and licking hummus instead of making something of my life.
Get a job
Okay I admit it, I suck at freelancing. I’m a woman of routine. I like being in an office every day, wearing actual clothes and interacting with interesting people. I’ve been freelance for 18 months now, which basically means I’ve lived in pyjamas for over a year. In 2014 I would like to get a well-paid, exciting, challenging and fulfilling job with a progressive company where my writing and editing skills are put to good use. I would also like to earn enough money to get taxis home from the pub instead of shuffling drunkenly on to the bloody night bus at 4am every Sunday.
After taking time out due to injury it’s been a long slow climb back to fitness, but in a funny way rediscovering running has been like falling in love all over again. All the clichés about coming back stronger are true. When you get knocked back, if you’ve got true grit you come back fighting and this time I’m determined to get it right. I don’t give a rat’s arse about speed, PBs or elusive ultra fitness. I run because I want to be healthy, happy and look good in hotpants. I’m determined not to get injured again, and to that end I’ve taken up yoga, returned to the weight’s room and I refuse to run faster than the speed of conversation until I am ready. Watch this space.
Seek out adventure
Moving to the Scottish mountains was a baptism of fire. I absolutely loved the wilderness, but at the same time I realised I need friends, pubs, H&M and Starbucks to sustain me as a human being. Even the most beautiful, ethereal and majestic countryside in the world sucks arse if you’ve got no one to share it with, so I came home. I haven’t turned my back on the mountains though. Since being back in the city I’ve realised I need both in my life. I want to be a city girl who buggers off to the wilderness for a mountain fix every few weeks. Who fancies a road trip?
Write that book
Despite trying to write one since I was six, I have never finished a book (in my own name). Aside from the whole moving to the Scottish mountains episode, there are some cool stories I should probably tell you. There was that time I lived in a commune, or when I climbed the fence at Glastonbury when I was only 14, or the gay millionaire my granny married, or that time I was an extra in a porn film about zombies. Please remind me to write that book.
I’ve been cursed with an adventurous streak which compels me to shake up my entire life every couple of years and turn everything on its head. I’ve walked away from countless friends, jobs, homes, relationships and pets without so much as a backward glance. This may sound fun and reckless, but it doesn’t get me any closer to living the conventional dream and having a stable income so I can pay for those elusive late-night taxis. In 2014 I will learn to cherish what I already have; loyal and brilliant friends, a family that loves me, a city to call my home and legs that can run and run and run.