My sister is incredible with anniversaries. She can remember what she was doing last week, month, year, and so on. I tease her about it mercilessly. Secretly though, I'm almost as bad. Which is why I am announcing that I have been here in the same place, job, and home for six months. I get the itch to make a change after about four months--the length of a standard college semester. I guess that isn't bad scar to bear from eight years of college. Now, if you'll join me in reminiscing, I need to reflect just how I got to this place.
11 years ago, almost to the day, I graduated from high school and began college where I began my now well-honed skill of switching careers. From dance education I moved to communication and then to sociology. I spent four happy years in sociology. Well, most of my time was spent climbing the stairs to and from the Richards Building where my dance classes were, but I graduated in sociology. To my surprise, I chose to stay and study it for another two years of graduate school. I finished that a mere five years ago. After just one year I came happily back to the welcoming arms of academia. Two years ago I quit my PhD program and came to Yellowstone on a seasonal position. In one week I went from grading my students finals to receiving minimum wage. I was so very happy here. I was also nervous about my future. "Two years," I told myself. "Try this for two years and see if you can get a real job in two years." After spending most of a year in Yellowstone I returned to Salt Lake City where I taught kids for ten months. Just one year ago I was frantically working, scrimping, and saving to attend certification courses for this field. Eight months ago I interviewed. I remember very clearly the warm October day when the position was offered: I had just finished a field trip hike and my phone rang. I stepped outside of work and sat on the curb unable to really believe that the choice was now mine. I hung up the phone and turned back towards work. To my surprise, Adrienne, the woman who opened my eyes to environmental education, sat not far away after a phone call of her own. We came together and discussed the class that brought her to the garden that day. Telling Adrienne about the job seemed like I was coming full circle. In six weeks I was unpacking boxes here in Gardiner.
It's still hard to believe. Is this what putting roots down feels like? You stop counting the days and weeks and instead suddenly wakeup and realize months or years have passed? I ask myself if I have any regrets for choices that I've made--friends or other career opportunities I've left behind. It's hard to know. But I don't think so. I'm too busy admiring the new green carpet covering the foothills after the recent rain. I can't think about regrets because the birds wake me up in the morning singing outside the window. And it's difficult to focus on what I'm missing because I am overwhelmed by all that brought me to this time and place. I can't help but wonder what will happen next?