Wanderlust, the Story of A Life

Moving to the frontier has been…interesting.
There are days when the wind whips snow until it stings and it’s so cold that you can’t feel your fingers or toes. There are nights when the sun goes down and I’m truly alone with just my thoughts.
And then there are days of perfect beauty, laughter in the newsroom and nights filled with the wonderment of a star-drenched sky, right off my porch.
I feel unsettled.
I am filled with wanderlust.
Knowing that I crossed 1,900 miles of the U.S. at pretty much the most inopportune time – the start of fall on the frontier – I vowed to give Wyoming a standard year. Anyone can do anything for a year.
But shortly after arriving, I started to seriously question this latest upheaval, the third in so many years.
All I can say is that there is a crisis in management styles and it taints everything I do.
And I knew going in that it would be a problem.
The lure of the mountains, the wide-open spaces, the chance to mentor a young staff was just enough to put everything in a truck and motor west.
Lately, I’ve been missing NYC. There’s a lingering doubt that I wasn’t finished there, not nearly so.
In the darkness of my bedroom – real Wyoming darkness – I think of what might be – and what could be. The itch to wander grows. Then there’s this joyous happening at work or in the community and I think, “Give it a chance.”
But the clashes arise, and I want to walk out right then and there. Give the finger. Go.
Certainly, my fate is a First World Problem. I am employed, I live in a kick-ass area and I have a growing circle of friends. I do not lack for anything. I don’t want anything. I am paid well.
Recently, people have approached, asking that I apply for a board position with the animal shelter. The Relay for Life people want me to help organize this year’s event.
The owner wants this for me. He wants me to be engaged, part of the community.
(His wife, also an owner, continues to serve as a de-facto wingal, working toward finding me a date; very nice of her.)
It’s all an attempt to keep me happy – and keep me here.
I got a note from one of my staff members, a thank you card.
“I know this might not be the ideal job for you…”
But in all reality, it is. Or it’s as close as I’ve come to in years. I get to do everything I’ve been trained to do – everything I love to do in the craft of journalism. I try and lead by example. I don’t micro-manage and I certainly keep things loose. Work should be fun, a mantra I’ve carried with me since I first started sweeping the floor at a woman’s clothing shop when I was 13.
If it weren’t for one stumbling block, I think I would be extremely happy. Or, at the very least, sleeping through the night.
There are opportunities that have been put in front of me, dangled. Journalism work.
And I think, “Would it be any different at a new place?”
Probably not. Years of downsizing has allowed some real dumbasses to be promoted in this business.
The problem is that after my folks died, I decided not to put myself into situations that sucked. And yet, here I am.
A friend just texted and said she wanted to work on a farm or a ranch and bring sustainable products to people. I wrote back that I wanted to live on a ranch and make artisanal cheese, or raise heritage pork.
And that’s not too far from the truth.
I want to do something that makes sense.
And makes me happy.


Jason Wilson said...

You deserve happiness, Thom. If that happiness means giving cheesemaking and pig-raising a try, you should. You may love it. You could come up with an interesting story (or series of stories) on the subject, too, mixing journalism with these other loves.

Best of luck to you.

JeniMc said...

i need a video lunch one of these days.

Dee Martin said...

I hope you find happiness Thom, but I don't think it is a particular destination. Living on a ranch making artisanal cheese can suck and so can New York. Not that it might not be exactly where you should be. But you know all that.

Much luck to you on this journey.