After 20 months, I am leaving Big Bend. I came for 6 months and stayed nearly two years. My time here has been absofuckinglutely AMAZING!
I always knew that I would know when it was time to leave and something inside just clicked. I was done. Done with the heat, the tourists, the job. Done with so much isolation. My timer went off like a cannon shot. I started applying for other jobs. Not just any job, but promotional jobs with smaller companies. I knew I needed to “up my game” and take on more responsibility, make more money, have more authority and autonomy. I needed to be more particular AND I needed to be patient. I had no timeline or event to necessitate my departure. I was embarking on a process and knew patience would be in order. I took a deep breath as I moved ahead.
I have taken my pilgrimage, my journey, my retirement (such as it is), and rested. Minimal responsibility, easy work, static schedules. Work that stays when I leave. Work that never calls on a day off. Just a job. This time to rest has been good. I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me. I have seen and done an amazing amount of new things. I am sated and grateful. What an adventure!
The things I love most about this place will be hard to leave. I have found a family, both in the US and in Mexico, and parting with these blessed souls is the hardest. I have learned and grown so much that these months have been like years; full and rich and bountiful. It is true that a piece of my heart is here, in this remote and desolate and beautiful and powerful place. I have enjoyed hiking out my front door, exploring on the backroads, and learning about the hidden beauty and stellar power of the desert. I still love her. I will always respect her. A part of her lives with me.
The struggle to be here has outpaced the joys; another indicator it is time to leave. Life here is hard, sometimes frustrating. We have no cell phone service, we rely on WIFI and land lines. We lose electricity often and must always be prepared to live without for an average of a day at a time. We are two hours from services, each way, and four hours from a real city with diverse medical care, bulk shopping, clothing stores, and more than one option for groceries. It is no secret that it is getting more expensive to live and these struggles add to that challenge. I have been feeling more and more trapped, beaten down, and powerless due to the increases in the resources needed to get by, let alone thrive. I am tired of using my days off to find my mail or packages that never seem to go where they are supposed to. I am discouraged that my only outings are for errands. The heat is paralyzing and stifling and the sun beating on my skin never ends. These things have worn me down. I find that I also want a job and company I can get behind, believe in, that will even take care of me. I need more out of my work life, too.
My original company was sold in April and still, in July, four months later, my account and accesses are not resolved. STILL! Each little piece of this challenge pie has added up to an intolerance and frustration. But, I no longer live like that. I no longer have to be in that space. I am NOT trapped or bound. I have the freedom and flexibility to move on. I have choices. So, that is what I am doing. I am making a choice and off I go.
I have accepted the position of Retail Manager at Vermejo – A Ted Turner Reserve in the mountains of northern New Mexico. I will be making more money while living with less expense. I will be closer to all services, even choices for shopping and airports. I will still be in a remote and natural setting. I will be at 7400 feet where the temperature RARELY goes over 85. Hell, it is 85 at 9:00 in the morning here! I will have four seasons, though none extreme. I will live alone in my own dwelling, though smaller. I will have easy access to meals and mail. By easy I mean on site, right there where I am. Not at my door, but always nearby.
The property is private, with a focus on outdoor experiences while staying in luxurious surroundings. Guests can rock climb, hunt or fish, shoot or practice archery, ride in a UTV or E-bike. There are about 550,000 acres for me to learn about and explore, herds of buffalo and elk, deer and antelope. Bears, eagles, owls and coyote, as well as countless others will be my neighbors. There are lakes and rivers and, yes, mountains. There will be rain and snow. I will live amongst others, some permeant and some seasonal. There is the hospitality team, the naturalist folks, the ranchers, and the guides.
I feel this is a company I can get behind, believe in, and one that will take care of me. My schedule will flex and my duties appear to be broad. I will help in other areas and have a great deal of autonomy in mine. The more I learn about this new place and position, the better it feels.
I did interview for other jobs even after I took this one. I mean, I had to be sure, right? Those conversations served to confirm my choice and solidify that I do not want to be in a busy city or place. I am not ready to give long or chaotic hours for minimal return. I do not want to be a cog in a machine. I want to be part of a team that works in concert and in support of each other. I want more out of my work life so that I can get more out of my personal life. I am ready for more; to do and be and contribute more. I am ready for change.
The best part of all of this is that I am the only influence in this choice. Nobody is forcing or making or suggesting any of this. It was my daughter originally who told me about the company and I did apply with them earlier this year but, apparently, it was not time. Now is the time and the choice is all mine.
I am busy packing and moving things and filling another storage unit. I learned a lot last time and am not making those mistakes again. I am doing a better job in that department. I finally bought my trailer and will be taking my motorcycle and most important belongings with me. The rest will be in storage until such time that I have more of a house and more permanence again. I am giddy with excitement and crying a river of sad tears. However, the relief of knowing what I dislike most about being here will end gives me peace. I am tired and do not like living in the chaos of boxes and upheaval. I know in just a couple short weeks this chaos, too, will be over and I will be deep into new exploration and learning and growth. I will be on yet another new road.
I am confident in my choice, sad to leave and excited for this next adventure. That feels good to say.
It is time.
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I’m so happy for you, Michelle, and so in awe of you. You truly live authentically, which is rare. I appreciate being able to share in your amazing life through your words and photos. And I’m happy, too, that your light was here at our church for a time, and we were privileged to have you in our midst. Love to you.
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