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Saying bye to the ranch?

February 15, 2012

The last four years of my life have revolved around the ranch. Even when I wasn’t physically there, the ranch dominated my thoughts. For the past few years, February has been a time of eager anticipation; I’d be counting down the days til May, when the season officially began and I could put the city in my rearview mirror and drive toward the mountains.

This year its different. I don’t have a calendar date marked RANCH with a whole bunch of happy faces around it. I haven’t already started pre-packing my summer clothes. I haven’t spent hours on the phone with colleagues, reminiscing about the old times and conjecturing about the new season.

This year, I’m turning my back on something that’s been a constant in my life. I’m not going back for a fifth summer.

And its kind of killing me.

The ranch has been my everything for so long. It’s happiness and dream fulfillment. It’s horses and sagebrush vistas. It’s pine and sky, dirt and leather, sweat and wildflowers. It’s the feel of sun at 12,000′ and a warm horse neck under my hand. It’s alpine air in my lungs and lemonade in a mason jar.

But it’s also been heartbreak, redundancy, frustration, loneliness, and the feeling that I’m riding on the coattails of someone else’s dreams instead of forging my own. It’s been missed horse shows, abandoned gardens, ignored opportunities, and goals put on hold. At least it was this past year. I burned out early and just. didn’t. want. to. be. there. anymore.

Afraid of risking another disappointing experience, I’ve decided not to go back.

But it still feels like a gut punch when I think of a ranchless summer. The ranch has been my everything for so long and I feel disloyal (both to my employers and myself) for not giving it another go. It’s like breaking up with a long-term boyfriend that you’ve simply outgrown. No one’s at fault; but things just aren’t the same anymore and you aren’t sure they can ever be salvaged. But God, it would be so much easier if they could. You wish that you had faith that things could reignite and go back to normal, but you just don’t think you can. Think being the operative word and the source of doubt. You don’t know for sure. And so you second guess. What if leaving is a terrible mistake? You think you’re making the right decision, but that doesn’t make it any easier and you’re still plagued by what ifs…

Ug, it’s just hard. I’ve always wanted to go back, so not wanting is a foreign feeling. I’m just not sure how to process it…

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 22, 2012 12:31 pm

    Tough position, tough feelings. I hope you find the balance point (wherever that is for you) between wanting and not wanting to be there, so you have some peace…

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