I was sitting at a stoplight today after a late breakfast (2:00 pm, lol) with a friend and a quick stop in my favorite thrift shop. I was about to turn to go home and resume my gloomy day off of doing absolutely nothing, but then my eyes noticed the road ahead beckoning me. As soon as the light turned green, I was moving forward without even realizing it. I smiled at the thought of having a reunion with my beloved Teton range, turned up some old favorite songs, and thought it had been far too long since I had gone on a drive.
Part of me hoped my music would drown out the buildup of “stuff” going on in my head. It didn’t work so well. The past couple weeks, I covered a few extra shifts at work and took on a couple odd jobs of pet sitting and babysitting, so I hadn’t taken much time to sort through and take a mental and emotional break. All of the distractions finally ended, and I was left to face me (myself?), all alone.
It seems a little funny to me that my perpetually out-of-shape body never seems to slow down…it’s usually my head or my heart that taps out first. Not that I’m an expert in any kind of health field, but it just proves how important it is to keep an eye on how you’re doing psychologically and to take advantage of any rest you can get.
The other morning I confided in a few friends/co-workers that I had woken up thinking, “I’m going to cry today. I can just feel it.” It wasn’t one thing in particular that set me off, it was just due time and I hadn’t cried in a good long while, so my floodgates were pretty flimsy. One coworker taught me that animals have been shown to need to do an emotional recalibration to get everything back in working order. I guess that’s true for humans, too.
As the mountains came into view, I could feel my face exploding into a big ole giddy grin. I thought back to the first time I had driven around the bend from town into the park, back when I traveled across the country with my brother to move here my first summer. It always takes my breath away. Suddenly my thoughts were erased and with the warm(er) breeze flying in through my cracked windows, I remembered why I had come here in the first place.
Life in a small ski town can be challenging, especially when it comes to making friends and/or dating in such a transitional place. People move every few months, come and go for seasons, and the faces around town are always changing. Sometimes, even in the midst of charming wooden sidewalks and little kitschy shops, it can be a tad isolating and feel pretty lonely. In that loneliness, sometimes you can question why you’re even still here, or if you would be happier somewhere else.
But seeing the Grand and the adjoining peaks reminds me that I was brought out here for a reason: I have learned so much more about life than I could ever have imagined. I have made innumerable friends, had a myriad of different jobs, gone on some crazy bad-ass hikes and adventures, encountered animals I had only seen in books or tv shows, and grown so much as a person. I can’t even begin to pretend that the list ends there, but I won’t waste your time.
Seeing the beauty with renewed eyes made me so thankful I hadn’t left yet. The skies were bright blue and lightly streaked with whispy clouds, and the snow on the mountains brought out the richness in the fall colors. I truly felt as if I was driving around in some photographs from National Geographic. I took dozens of pictures (even a few selfies!) and completely turned into a tourist again. I visited some favorite old spots from summers past, but made a point to check out some new ones too.
Having today to myself was exactly what I needed. I feel as if I have lost 10 pounds of stress, gained 10 hours of sleep, and had a big helping of gratefulness in remembering that I am able to live in such a gorgeous place as this. I gave this park- my park- a big hug of gratitude at its reminder of “Ain’t Life Grand” and drove back home as the sun kissed the day goodbye. It was a good day.
Put your phone away, and drive. Reset and reevaluate. Breathe, just breathe.