As I neared high school graduation I found myself spinning in questions about what my next life step would be. College seemed inevitable yet inappropriate at the same time. I had no idea what area of education I wanted to pursue that would feed into a desired career. During my search for something that Felt Right I ended up in an army recruiter's office before being told in no uncertain terms if I found the need to sign up for a branch of the military it better be the Airforce (though I was more highly encouraged to not sign up for anything). My parents understood something about me I tried to ignore back then: my love of my country was not at all in question but my physical, emotional and mental ability to cope with that kind of environment was. My intentions were in the right place, my ability to deliver was askew.
Giving up on the idea of a stint in the military somehow gave way to a dream of moving to Scotland or Ireland for a year to live in the country and work on whatever farm would hire me. I dreamed of sparse lodgings filled with necessities and a small fortune of books to pass the time, lively neighborhood pubs, rousing song and flying dancing feet, lush green hills rolling from my feet and days getting filthy on the farm. I would have missed my family in painful ways but deep down I knew it'd only be for a year and the experience and education that came from it would be incredible. I'm married and settled now so such a year is no longer anywhere in my future but I still day dream about it now and then.
Just this past week I stumbled across a new blog site and in classic OCD fashion I've been reading the entire thing from the very first post. At first I thought that the main source of entertainment would come from the fantastic photography and irresistible coyote subject. As I got into some of the meatier update posts, however, I was shocked to discover that the main draw of the site for me had become more about the woman writing it and the life she seemingly picked up one day. I don't know anymore about the author of the site than what she shares in her posts but I feel like I can imagine her character; bold, confident, independent, ambitious, adventurous, motivating and inspiring. Reading about her life in the wilds of Wyoming has sparked in me a dream I never could have imagined for myself.
Much like my year abroad this dream will never come to fruition but I've been enjoying the wishful thinking. The author brings to life the image of a modern pioneer woman, shoes I've been pretending I could fit into. Her existence is simple and basic to the point of having seasonal running water and a wood stove to bake bread. Her farm seems to grow one animal at a time (cat --> coyote --> dog --> cow, a horse somewhere in the mix), as do her self sufficient capabilities. Living off the land has a growing appeal to me as I've gotten older, peaked now by reading her seemingly effortless ability to become one with a beautiful land. This post and this post in particular struck several notes with me and I was surprised at how moved I was by them and my desire to have experienced them first hand.
I love my life just as it is and wouldn't truly want to change it for anything in the world. I feel, however, that I should be able to wonder what might or could have been if I'd gone down a different path.