Mid-December Facebook prompted me to review my year with photos and status updates. It hit all the highlights– ending a chapter in my work life, moving to a new landscape, committing myself to another person for life (yikes, right! :)), Hank wearing a jacket, Hank on a walk, Hank stretching on my yoga mat… you know, only the most significant moments of the year. Although those were the “big days” of my year, I can’t help but consider how important it is to celebrate each day individually… not just the anniversaries and holidays and paydays, but the day my avocados went bad, or the day that psycho flew through an intersection and totaled my car. There is still so much to be grateful for. For example, my loving parents who came to my rescue on that chilly, January day. Perhaps even for a sense of humor on the lifespan of produce in ‘ol Custer, SD. (It’s not going to last forever, but you’d think more than one day.) Alas, brown avocados meet their fate (aka my trash can) day after day. There will be days that are bordering on worthless and days that are so busy you can hardly wrap your head around all the madness, but it’s important to take five minutes– or longer if you’re lucky– to sit in silence, feel your breath move through your body, and realize you’re alive and well and thankful for it all. I embrace the good and the bad, as best I can. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. All of December was one of those times. I accepted a new position (Could I have any more jobs at this point? Just wait, another one is pending.) at the Chamber of Commerce just under tw0 months ago. I feel like for the first time I’m doing something useful. I’m promoting this town and as sarcastic as I am about it sometimes, I really do like it here.
I overheard someone say you have to live here for 20 years before you’re considered a local. But let’s be real… I attend meetings on the 2014 4th of July parade and take the alleys through town and buy my eggs from a Custer resident who has chickens… I’m practically a local, right. At least I’m beginning to feel more part of the community. Today, as part of my duties at the Chamber, I answered a call from a gentleman named Michael from the East Coast. I answered questions on drive time to the Badlands; the difference between Wind Cave and Jewel Cave; if this man can fit in Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, the Badlands, and Devils Tower in a day and a half (the answer is a big NO, if you’re wondering). After that incredibly long phone call, I realized how I just answered all of his questions without telling him, “I don’t know” or “let me ask.” I’m really beginning to get the hang of things– the attractions, the locals, the things do do in the winter (there are things!), and even the ridiculous beer prices.
I have my days when I’d love to drive to the corner for a chai latte or leisurely peruse the aisles of Target for hours on end, but if instead I spend my time walking my dog and his curious little nose around our neighborhood and notice the snow-tipped ponderosas that cover the hills like blankets, I’m much better off. It’s not to say I wouldn’t want to live in Omaha again or live in/near conveniences such as these. Rather, I’ve been given this opportunity and I probably better enjoy it. There are a lot of people out there who decide– “I want to be this and I want to live here and I am content.” That is so wonderful for those people to know exactly what they want. I’m not one of those people. I see endless opportunity in many situations– whether I’m living rurally or in a city, whether I’m using my degree or waiting tables (or both!). The part I can control in each situation is how I react to it and that’s about the best you can do.
This year– I have no idea what will come about. But I’m okay with that. To an adventurous, bliss-filled year, even if it is sometimes a little out-of-control 🙂