So, if you know me or have read any of my blog posts, you probably know that I was supposed to move to Yellowstone National Park for this summer. If you didn’t know that, you can read this post to get caught up before continuing this post.
In December of 2016 I applied for a job in Yellowstone. I moved there on May 21st, 2017. I started working in Grant Village at the general store. I have always wanted to be the adventurous person. The one who goes on spontaneous explorations and takes cool photos and documents her travels on a vlog and Instagram and stuff. Well, where this story takes a turn is between the time I got the job and the time when I moved to Yellowstone.
February 15th, 2017. That’s the day something crazy happened. This guy I had dated when I was 16 came back into my life. I wasn’t prepared for it. They always say that love will find you when you least expect it. This is 100% true in this case. Knowing I was moving to Wyoming, I had turned down several dates after I got the job and I was not really into dating at the time. But you know when you have that little voice in the back of your head that tells you to do something and you debate on whether to listen to it? I listening to it this time when it told me “hey, he asked you to dinner. What is keeping you from going?”
Now, keep in mind that I broke up with him. I did. I ended it 3 years ago. But when I found out him and his ex-girlfriend had broken up I was just a little bit excited. My sister asked me if I would ever go on a date with him if he asked and I said yes, never expecting that to happen.
Fast forward 3 months and it was time for me to leave. For four months. It was hard, but we both agreed that we would be here when I got back. We held on. It wasn’t easy but I knew that I wanted to be with him and he knew that too.
A few weeks before I moved to Wyoming I started having headaches, I’m not sure what caused them but they weren’t just your typical headache. It was all day and it felt like someone hit me in the back of the head with a baseball bat. It only happened a couple times a week so I wasn’t too worried. While I was in Yellowstone I started having these headaches every. single. day. I don’t know if the altitude made them worse or what, but it was so hard to just go to work. I would get off work and be so mentally exhausted that I would want to just go back to my dorm. It was hard to enjoy what I had around me (although I did get out and do some of the things I really wanted to do.) It could have been a number of things. Anxiety, stress, home-sickness. Whatever it was it got better when I went to lower elevation.
I started thinking a lot about what I wanted. I knew instantly that I wanted to go home in time for the school year (which wasn’t the original plan.) I knew I wanted to get my education and that that was the most important thing. I have my entire life to work and explore and do things like that. So, I enrolled for school in the fall, instead of just doing two online classes I decided to do four classes and a lab. Photography was still something that I wanted to do, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that. I reevaluated what was most important to me. My family, my boyfriend, getting my education, preparing for life on my own.
Originally the plan was to move to Wyoming, work for the summer, then possibly stay up there and get a permanent job. I know it sounds extreme, but I was going to do it. After living up there for 3 weeks I realized something. I’m not the crazy adventurous person I wanted to be. I’m not saying I don’t love traveling, exploring, and all that fun stuff. I’m saying that I love living in the small town in Oklahoma. I love being a “small town girl.” I want to go on fun trips and I still have wants and adventures that I want to take, but right now I have things I need to get done first, before I do fun adventures I want to be stable on my own. I want to make it work with my boyfriend, my soulmate. I know it had to hurt when I left, but he was so supportive and strong for me. I cried like a baby when I left him, I’m not gonna lie, I was excited to go to Yellowstone, but my heart was left in Oklahoma.
I know it’s hard to understand, I have had so many people ask me what was wrong with me. Or why did I give up a once in a lifetime opportunity? Well here is my answer. It is not a once in a lifetime opportunity. ¾ of the people I worked with were retired. Just because I’m young and now is the ‘prime time’ to do stuff like this does not mean that it is the only time I can do this. I have my entire life to do whatever the heck I want. Now is the time in my life where I am still figuring out what I want. I am 19 years old. Nineteen. I was 18 when I said to myself, “I am tired of doing the same old, same old. I want to make a change. I want to do something adventurous.” I literally applied for job 1,300 miles away without asking my parents. The only reason they didn’t kill me (I think) is because it was Yellowstone.
Sometimes it is hard to understand why someone does something, and sometimes you won’t understand. You have to be okay with that. We don’t always have to know why someone did something because we don’t know what was going on in their life at the time. We don’t know what they are going through or what they’re feeling. Life is a confusing thing, I’m still trying to figure it out.
One of my favorite classes in school was my English Comp I and II classes. My professor taught us a lot about poems. I never really paid any attention to poetry before then but one that really stuck out to me was ‘The Brave Man’ by Wallace Stevens, it goes like this:
The sun, that brave man,
Comes through boughs that lie in wait,
That brave man.
Green and gloomy eyes
In dark forms of the grass
The good stars,
Pale helms and spiky spurs,
Fears of my bed,
Fears of life and fears of death,
That brave man comes up
From below and walks without meditation,
That brave man.
The last stanza is one I really love. “That brave man comes up from below and walks without meditation, that brave man.”
Sometimes we have to just get up and do what we feel is right and not hesitate and wonder what everyone else thinks. It does not matter what everyone else thinks. Your life is your life. Do what makes you happy and what you feel in your gut is right. It may not be right but you’ll figure it out. I’ve often joked that my life motto is “Just wing it.” While it is a joke I also think there is a bit of truth to it. We can make plans, we can have a written agenda of our life, down to the day but how often do plans work out exactly how we intended?
So, my “plan” right now is to finish getting my associates’ degree at Redlands Community College. After that maybe I’ll do cosmetology, maybe I’ll get to do photography, maybe, maybe, maybe.
My main focus? Making life work with my other half. I know a bunch of people will tell me that my education is the most important thing, which is true for some people and I do think that my education is extremely important. That is why I am back home and why my first goal is to finish school. All of these things can be done right alongside my bestfriend. I support him, he supports me. It’s a team effort.
“Fears of my bed, fears of life and fears of death run away.”
Follow the links below to watch a few clips of my adventures in Yellowstone!