When you see something new and different or are invited to try a new activity, what is your response? I was raised in a pretty sheltered home, so I always instinctively thought about the risks. Of course there’s personal injury or death, the monetary cost, or even the social repercussions. But now, at 25, I have finally realized, yeah I could die, but most likely I won’t. I try now to focus on what I could gain: strength, a new skill/talent, a learning experience, self-confidence, or a great story to be told around a campfire some night.
At the age of 22, I was living in a beautiful community in Alabama because it was comfortable, safe, near family, and I was content: content, but not happy. I finally broke off a relationship I had been dragging my feet to end because the guy was nice, funny, and I liked him…but I knew I didn’t love him. I was scared to take the plunge and start off brand new. I had already finished college and any adult can tell you that once you’re out of school, it is much harder to make new friends. I didn’t want to be completely isolated in a place I wasn’t happy in already.
So, I decided it was the most opportune time to finally make a change. I talked to one of my older brothers who lived out in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming where I had visited him two years before. I had instantly been infatuated with the scenery, wildlife and all of the differences the “wild west” had, opposed to the flat lands of northern Alabama. He gave me some ideas of places to apply for a seasonal job. I dotted every i and crossed every t, and I waited.
I also worried. I wondered how I would quit my job that I really did enjoy. I thought about moving so far away from my parents. I had never really been longer than a six hour drive from them. I pondered every possible bad thing that could happen until I finally landed a job. I was going to live in the mountains, my little fairytale dream world, in a log cabin for a summer job. I was enthralled. Worst case scenario: I would hate it, make some money and I would have the light at the end of the tunnel to get out by the end of the summer.
I fell in love. I met people from all over the world. I did things I never imagined I could (or would) do. I rock climbed, I summited a mountain, I took a dip in natural hot springs…basically anything I wanted to experience was offered to me. I learned and grew so much in that first summer. No, it wasn’t perfect and yes, I did make some mistakes. It was all worth it. It was a kind of summer that songs are written about.
That seasonal job was the high-dive at the swimming pool that you always yearn to conquer as a kid. I leapt off the board and never knew how much it would change my life. It was the foundation to my new lifestyle that would take the next few years to develop. The lifestyle I am polishing and writing about now.
The moral of this first post is to give yourself some much-deserved credit and ask “Why not?” Why not pursue that dream job? Why not tell the person you love how you feel? Why not try something you probably will hate? Why not eat that weird colored thing on the plate?
I have turned that phrase into “Wy Not?” to remind myself of the dream I almost didn’t dare to dream for myself. The state I had never really noticed before that became a home and housed some instrumental people in my life. WyHomeing as I now like to call it.
It’s never as bad as it usually seems. Always trust your gut, but don’t be afraid of the high-dive. It just may be the biggest blessing you never saw coming.