A Toast to TWO & Cheers to Many More! (BAL)

2+ years ago, I didn’t live in Baltimore. Hell, seven months ago, I didn’t live in Baltimore. I was one of the rarities, one of the few. Actually, I’m pretty sure I was the only “commuting leader” in the land of November Project. And I have the MARC tickets to prove it. Welcome, to our (+my) two year story:

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In October of 2013, a chance meeting led to a life change. I was currently living in the Our Nation’s capital and was just getting used to the MARC train and its “delays.” While visiting Pat that weekend, he told me, “We are going to meet my friend Carly for dinner tonight, and she’s bringing this friend that she’s living with right now.” Awesome! New friends! And sure enough right around dinner time, in walks Carly and the man who we now know and love as NICK ROD enters the door. Sparks flew. Nick seduced us  with his beard (wait, he didn’t have one at the time, scratch that) with his beer, his charm, and with something we knew nothing about: November Project.

“I’m thinking about starting this thing called November Project here in Baltimore. You two should come join me – it’s free and it’s called Project Morning Mayhem for now.” That was it. That was the beginning of the end. That’s all it took.

Fast forward through the pledge process, the trifecta coming into play, and finally receiving the positivity award and the stencils for the first time: the first time we could be called November Project Baltimore. Give me a puppy wrapped in ice cream and bacon and that’s how we felt that day in the snow. We made a video and we were excited 12 people were there.

As the year went on, so did our creativity, our connections, and my continuous commuting: DC to Baltimore to DC to Baltimore. And finally something clicked, something changed for me. As the tribe got bigger and the community got stronger, my pull to Baltimore became more and more apparent. I was spending 5 nights a week in Charm City, just to be able to be a part of all of the friendships and plans that I so desperately wanted to be present for. I spent most mornings and evenings and dollars on the train. But I wasn’t complaining. I was excited: excited to lead and to be a part of a movement that made mornings in Baltimore worth getting up for. This tribe gave me the community I was seeking and the home I was looking for. I dreaded getting back on that train to go “home,” whatever that meant.

So in July of 2015, after 450+ MARC tickets and 1.5 years of the NP_BAL tribe, I took the plunge into one of the greatest decisions I have ever made for myself: a permanent move to Baltimore, MD.

Nick, Pat, and I hear a lot of stories of how this tribe and these people have made a positive change in your life and the lives of others; and we are humbled by them. We receive a lot of “thank yous.” But I can only say this so truly and with so much honesty, from the deepest part of my heart: Thank You. While you say we have changed your lives, you have all actually changed mine. Little did you know, you have changed my mindset in a way that I would have never expected: the ability to bring strangers together and for them to show honest, true, unimaginable care and love for one another. This is more than just fitness of the body; this is fitness of the mind, heart, and soul. Thank you for giving me the pleasure of making a city my home and a community I could have only dreamed of. It makes me proud to be your “Mom.”

This is your accomplishment even more than it is Nick’s, Pat’s, or my own. You show this world that love overcomes the dark, the cold, the excuses. Continue to shine your light in this city any way you choose to, because this world needs a little more love and way more hugs. Thank you for teaching me that, and for continuing to teach each other over these past 2 years.

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We love you, more than words could deem to write. Because yes, today we are sappy. Cheers to many many more years.

xoxo,
Syd

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