The term “luck” gets tossed around all the time. You are lucky that you have something, or you are lucky that something happened at a particular time in your life. But one aspect of luck that is frequently left out of the conversation is this: what did you do after your lucky moment?
My lucky moment came almost a year and a half ago. I was in a pretty unpleasant place in February 2014. I was living in Chicago during the coldest, harshest winter in the city’s recorded history (this is a fact). The Polar Vortex had only just ebbed, and the prophetic critter Puxatony Phil had declared another 6 weeks of winter. I just finished applying to 7 graduate programs, but had already been rejected from 3 schools by Valentine’s Day (one actually came on Valentine’s Day). I was 9 months out of undergrad, unemployed, living alone without a car or bike, and lonely to the point of crippling depression. I was struggling to find comfort in a dark, frigid city where I felt like a cultural transplant. Everything was in flux, and while I knew things would eventually settle down, the uncertainty of almost every aspect of my life was taking a harsh toll on me.
This looked awesome, but it fucking sucked. We get it Canada, y’all are badasses.
One day while scrolling through Facebook, someone posed a question to the cyber world: “Has anyone done the November Project? It looks like Type II fun at its finest 🙂 “ I followed the hyperlink, scrolled through the website, and furrowed my brow as I learned about this insane movement. Lo and behold, in one fell cyber swoop, my world was rocked. If this was “Frozen,” I was Anna falling madly in love with Hanz on the castle grounds after just meeting him. And even though this is a grassroots movement, and not a man I just met and wanted to marry, some people pulled an Elsa and responded to my enthusiasm with “are you insane?” But I digress…
At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay in Chicago or move back to Massachusetts, and the Chicago pledge hadn’t started yet. But this group of strangers 1000 miles away in Boston became a flicker of hope. My first thoughts were “if I went regularly to something like this, people would eventually notice when I’m not there. People would notice when I’m gone.” When you look at your life and realize there isn’t a single person you that see every day, and you regularly go 48 hours with minimal human contact, the “We Missed You” wall seems like the most comforting thing in the world.
A few weeks later, I had a lucky moment: my friend Bonnie told me there was a tribe pledging in Chicago. I went (I dragged Bonnie during a blizzard… I’m not sorry), and threw everything I had into November Project. I needed that pledge group to become a tribe. It had to stay. Not only had I found something that I had desperately been searching for, but I needed to say thank you to whatever force brought it into my life.
Suddenly, people were everywhere, all the time. Smiling, sweaty, hug-loving, neon clad people who looked for me. Now, there were more than a handful of people looking for me. People who noticed when something was off because they saw me regularly enough to sense changes in my mood. The loneliness dulled, the depression faded away. I wasn’t worried about disappearing or going unnoticed anymore.
Fast forward to now, August 2015. I have more rewarding and fulfilling relationships in my life then I could possibly count or list. I haven’t felt lonely or isolated in a very, very long time. My life feels full and dynamic, and I am happy. As an OG, I will forever have a special place in my heart for the Chi-Town tribe, no matter where I am. I watched you grow and mature, and you did the same for me.
The day before I left Chicago for Boston. I think my head is buried in EmRo’s armpit
There are numerous things in my life that I’m lucky to have. Some may say I was lucky to find November Project, and they’re right. It popped up into my life at a moment when I truly needed it. However, luck is only where you start. What I have gained, and what countless others have gained from November Project has also been the result of work. When you wake up and you’re tired and cranky, getting your ass to the workout is a ride on the struggle bus. Leading a workout after 4 hours of sleep is not easy (BC Hammertime and Emily Saul, I’m looking at you). Dealing with challenges in your training requires discipline. Opening yourself up to be a support system for others takes work, but acknowledging that you need a support system is also difficult. And finally, when you’re hauling ass up the stadium stairs, and it is 88 degrees with 50% humidity, fuck yeah you’re working.
I would bet that many feel lucky to have November Project in their lives. But for all of those who believe that, just look at the work you have done. Look at the energy, the emotion, the blood, sweat and tears that you have literally poured into this community. Luck is only where you start. Where you end up, is the result of the work that you did.
~Jenny “J-Funk” FarrellShare via socials: