I’ve been living in Fort Collins, CO for 10 days.
The last 10 days, the most common question has been “Why did you move to Fort Collins?” It’s come from those who have known me longest and are hoping that someday I’ll go home, as well as the new people that have started playing roles in this new chapter. I don’t have a perfect answer, but the one I do have has come after a lot of reflection from this previous year.
I have fallen out of love with my work. The second year at my previous institution took more out of me than I realized while I was living it, and the fall semester of 2017 truly opened my eyes to what my mental and emotional states were regarding my job. The new setting, supervisor, and team weren’t enough to change how I was feeling coming out of my second professional year. I needed to leave before I became a detriment to my students and our team, and before I became even unhappier than I already was. I wanted to be fair to myself and this field in giving it another shot in a different environment to see if it’s the work I’m unhappy with or if it was my circumstances at the time. I would love to fall back in love with what I’m doing, but I’m not sure if that will ever become a reality.
I need to do some serious work on myself. Last year found me crippled with anxiety and depression at times, and I was both unsure and unwilling to figure out how to manage it. I was terrified of what it might take to get to a healthier mental place, and I didn’t know where to start. There are things I have been running from for a lot of years now, and the truth is that I cannot keep running from my own mind. I wanted a place that had literal and physical wide open spaces for me to go to so I could just sit and absorb as I try to bring some peace to my mindset. I wanted to find a place where I could finally feel comfortable when examining some of my inner fears and thoughts.
I want to live in a place that aligns more closely with who I am. I am not a Southerner. I am not a conservative. I don’t want to surround myself with individuals possessing mindsets that, to me, are backwards, offensive, oppressive, and horrendous. I want to find a local culture that I can identify with and want to root myself in. I don’t believe my new home is going to be perfect by any means, but I’m hopeful that it’s a better fit than South Carolina.
Without having high expectations, I have high hopes and determination for 2018. My word for 2018 is cultivate: “To promote or improve the growth or development of by labor and attention; to foster.” I’m hoping to cultivate a life that is joyful, and in which I can finally feel like I’m thriving. I want to put in the work to get there.
So here’s to 2018, everyone.