Why am I unhappy here?
I miss my family, my dogs, home cooked meals not cooked by me, my friends, the humid Florida air (okay… maybe not so much the humidity as the sunshine and lack of black ice). I’ve been told so many things about my unease in Montana by so many people; I’ve been told to come home, to push through, to find friends, to find another – less stressful – job, and to figure out if I’m uncomfortable or if this is God’s way of telling me this career path just isn’t for me.
So then why am I here?
I went from university to summer bliss in Isle Royale to zero job outlooks and a million turndowns to serving underprivileged youth in southwest Montana. Yes, I was desperate when I accepted the job, but I was also excited to spend the first 8 months of 2018 helping kids who actually need it in a place that is so beautiful I have literally dreamed of coming here since I was in 6th grade and first saw Roy Eberhardt on horseback in “Hoot.”
When I approached my host site supervisor about my worries of success in this job she told me that this was never going to be easy and that I should not use quantity as a tool for measurement in this situation. I came into a term of service with no one serving for months on end and was told that without me pushing through these next six months there would likely be a disappearance of the program in the upcoming year.
I have always enjoyed looking at myself as different – I never wanted to be considered normal because to me normality is bound to boredom. But these days normal sure looks tempting. Serving ACMNP in Isle Royale last summer was challenging for many reasons, but one of the most prevalent was because I embarked to re-established a lost partnership between non-profit and park with no prior experience and no one but myself to make the changes happen. Now I am in similar shoes but with even less direction and no guidance outside of the grant that brought me here.
Wow, oh wow am I learning the value of good relationships. Even though I am thousands of miles from all that I know I still feel supported. Old co-workers, friends, and family members all are invested in my choice of challenging the unknown and they all want me to know it.
This past weekend was extended due to Presidents’ Day and I spontaneously decided to live it up and splurge for a quick trip home. I needed to see my people, snuggle with my dogs, and forget about the stress of creating a successful turnout in my AmeriCorps service. I thought that my surprise visit home would make my longing for my old routines even stronger, but instead home came with a subconscious supportive push to continue challenging myself through this new trail I’m blazing.
Thankfulness doesn’t even cover it. Trading snow cover for spring explorations, puppy kisses, and family game night was the exact weekend getaway I needed. I love all my people (and my fur babies, of course), but I will never forgive myself if I don’t give Montana all that I’ve got.
Besides, a little birdie told me it’ll all be worth the wait.