I am sitting outside at Persephone Bakery, like any old regular Jackson Hole person, drinking my favorite coffee (Intelligentsia Jackson Hole Blend) and eating an incredible chocolate brownie. I’m thinking about what I want to do with my life, as though I’m not already doing lots of things.
Just a few days ago I was walking with a friend and we were talking about a former Yellowstone Interpretive Ranger, we’ll call her Sarah, who is working at the Grand Canyon. Sarah is shuffling herself around from park to park, in search of the illusive “permanent position” (not unlike an academic job path). And my friend says, “It’s so funny, the things we tell ourselves we need.” Because Sarah was happy in Yellowstone, but she’s in pursuit of a career dream she’s decided upon.
Yesterday I spent much of the day texting with an old friend from my graduate program, discussing love, life, and career. And since we spoke I can’t help but feel compelled to start seeking out academic job calls, as though a job I don’t even know if I want will complete some part of me that shouldn’t even be missing.
I’m always looking ahead to the next thing, the next move, the ultimate plan. Why? I am in a beautiful place. I get to spend every single day with my husband and daughter. I get to move in an air of mystery. If I lived in a town I’d just spend more money and feel more stressed. If I lived in a town I’d probably be dreaming up ways to return to the woods.
A graduate student friend of mine recently wrote on Facebook (I’m paraphrasing), “Don’t you ever wish you could just be in a cabin in the woods? Just your spouse, a fireplace, and some snow.”
Technically I don’t live in a cabin. But I’ve got the spouse, the fireplace, and plenty of snow. I’m far away from most everything, tucked away in some world-class woods. And today (the cherry on the cake), I get to sit here by myself, drinking my favorite coffee, outside on a warm fall day.