Hello, my friends! Today is my birthday What better way to celebrate on a rainy, Michigan monday than to return to one of my favorite things – blogging!
It is hard to believe, but it has been three months since I wrote a blog post. I definitely didn’t forget about the blog (and was hard at work switching ad providers during this time…scroll down for more info on that). But so much LIFE has been happening the last three months that I haven’t had a moment to sit down, reflect, and of course write about it.
The Sparknotes version is: a long awaited out-of-state surgery, recovering from said surgery, a whirlwind post-surgery return to work, a two week trip to the UK to reunite with Dan, another whirlwind post-travel return to work, a good friend’s wedding, and my birthday… which takes us to today! Phew! (Don’t worry, I’ll share more on all this below).
Where was I in August, September, & October?
- Countries: USA & UK (finally!!)
- Cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Lansing, Traverse City, Detroit, and Upper Peninsula, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; London, Oxford, Penzance, St Ives, Poole, England!
- Flights: 6
- Days on the road: 29
August, September, & October on the blog…
Not a single blog post was published in the last three months!
However, like I mentioned, I was still hard at work behind the scenes. In September I switched ad providers to Mediavine (those are the ads you now see in between paragraphs). I’ve been working to get into Mediavine for literally years! It is a well regarded ad network but it has a minimum monthly session requirement to be admitted (sessions are the number of times someone goes on your website each month).
Right when I was just about to reach “Mediavine status” in 2020, they overnight doubled their requirement from 25k to 50k sessions. I definitely let that frustrate me for a few months, and then I got to work. Way earlier this summer I finally hit the 50k benchmark that I’d been working toward, and was eventually accepted to the program. Then came leaving my previous ad provider, signing contracts, launching, etc.
Being in Mediavine opens up a lot of opportunities for me. It basically means I now have a steady, healthy third income flowing in (in addition to my healthcare work and my freelance writing work). I did not start Endless Distances as a business venture, and making money through the blog has never been my #1 goal. I love to write and this is my outlet and my heart! However, especially since the pandemic, making money from the blog (AKA, by my own terms, being my own boss) has looked more desirable.
I have no plans to quit my job(s) to blog for the time being, but joining Mediavine does make me feel excited for whatever opportunities the future could hold!!
August, September, & October adventured like…
Eeek! There is SO much to share from this late summer/early fall season. Where to start? Let’s go chronologically. I also assume many of you who read these posts follow me on Instagram (if not, you should do that). So… you might already know what’s been going on as I do try to post to my stories regularly.
I had major surgery: Yes, the biggest news is that I FINALLY had excision surgery for endometriosis. As many of you know, endometriosis took over my life a few years ago. I was devastated in early 2021 when the specialist I was scheduled to have my second surgery with ended up retiring after I sat on his wait list, in excruciating pain, for 8 months. So it was for this reason that it was a HUGE deal that in August 2021 I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to have my surgery with Dr. Arrington at the Center for Endometriosis Care. The surgery was successful and I have shared some thoughts about it on Instagram here, here, and here. I am still planning to write up some blog posts but honestly it is taking me more time than I expected to process what I’ve been through. What I will share is that my recovery is going extremely well, and I would estimate my symptoms have reduced 80-90% on any given day. I recently restarted pelvic physical therapy which is the next step in my recovery plan.
Sunflower adventure: Just two weeks post-surgery, I took a roadtrip to Michigan’s upper peninsula to photograph sunflowers. Man, this was an extremely poorly timed trip so I’ll just say thank goodness for my mom who accompanied/chauffeured me when I could barely walk without a cane still! I had signed a contract months ago (before I knew my surgery date) to photograph sunflowers for a travel magazine. Then, the flowers bloomed earlier than expected this year creating the perfect storm. Anyway, we had a great trip and I got some awesome shots (which I have yet to edit). I’ll share the article when it’s published next year!
September was pure work: I returned to my healthcare job in September but I still struggled physically the first couple weeks. I wore an abdominal binder under my scrubs and would be so exhausted each day when I got home. This was mainly due to immense physical deconditioning from my surgery – I have zero core strength and lost a lot of muscle in my legs and arms, too. Work did get easier as time went on (and I put to practice a lot of the advice I tell my patients as an occupational therapist!). But it’s for that reason that I did not do much else in September other than work, work, work.
I spent two weeks in England, reuniting with Dan: Wooooohooo! The funnest news of the past three months is that I finally got to see Dan after 370 days apart. Due to border closures on the USA side, plus my health/surgery preventing me traveling to see him in the UK, we spent a whole freaking year apart. That is still wild to me. So it was an incredible and long awaited reunion in the UK. We spent some time in London, as well as Oxford, Cornwall, and Dorset. It was a whirlwind trip. And I have a TON of blog posts to share once I get my act together! In particular, I’m hoping to finally write up some Cornwall itineraries and posts as I have spent so much time there over the years.
Attended my college roomie’s wedding: Well, this brings us up to this past weekend, which I spent in Ohio at one of my college roommate’s wedding! It was a beautiful event for a couple that’s clearly meant to be with one another. And it was also such a deeply needed moment, for me at least, to reunite with some good friends! I don’t think I even realized how much I missed being together with loved ones, chatting, eating, dancing (or just laying around for hours watching Shrek 1 & 2 lol!).
My birthday!: Well, as I mentioned, today is my 28th birthday! I have to say, it feels mostly like a normal day rather than a big event, especially after the excitement of this weekend. I did get some lovely messages this morning, had a nice chat with Dan, and have dinner and cake planned with my parents this evening. Then, I’m hoping to get dinner with a couple friends next weekend and maybe do a small day trip to Lake Michigan (still calling those birthday celebrations as it falls on a Monday this year!). I think I went through most of the existential crisis of entering my “late twenties” last year on my 27th birthday, so this year I mostly feel content, and excited for what this next chapter will hold. I think a lot of that has to do with (full circle moment here), my surgery in August. Now that I’m feeling so much better physically, I feel the freedom to once again make plans, goals, and action toward dreams! Exciting times ahead, my friends
Upcoming in November…
Well, for one, I hope that I write more blog posts in November!! Other than that, I will be chugging away at work (both my healthcare and writing jobs). I will have officially been at my healthcare job one year in November so maybe I’ll try to celebrate that anniversary somehow.
I will also be planning Dan’s visit (!!!). Thank goodness, after 19 months the USA borders are finally reopening to travelers from the UK. We are hoping he can get over here right after Christmas and stay for a few weeks.
And then, of course, there is Thanksgiving and the festivities leading up to that. My extended family did not celebrate together last Thanksgiving due to COVID. This year, we are hoping to do our annual “pie night” (we all gather together, drink, and make pies), the Turkey Trot (a 5-k race on Thanksgiving morning) and Thanksgiving day together. We are all vaccinated, minus the two babies, but will be keeping an eye on COVID cases and really hoping it works out to be together.
WELL! A lengthy post indeed. I would love to catch up and hear what you’ve been up to these past three months in the comments.