As my time here in Edwards comes to an end, I think it only appropriate to devote a few words to reflection. Certainly, my time here did not work out as I anticipated---for four primary reasons.
Reason 1: The job thing--already much belabored in this blog.
Reason 2: My penchant for tilting at windmills---it was probably a touch unrealistic to expect I would become an expert bartender, ski like Bode Miller, play guitar like Jimmy Page, speak Spanish like Borges, and get in shape like LeBron.
Reason 3: My personality. There are very few people who could manage to make skiing and bar tending in Beaver Creek stressful, yet I managed. I think I just need a base level of stress in my life, and this stress is so internal that it doesn't change much if I'm lying on a beach or running the CIA. (my night job) In short, I don't relax well.
Reason 4: Going cold turkey from an academic environment to its very antithesis. I try very hard not to be an intellectual snob, but most of the people I worked with probably thought Barack Obama was a tasty Indian curry. I don't need pretentious assholes, but people with whom it is possible to have a conversation beyond how many inches of powder there are would have been nice. This, in turn, contributed to a much greater isolation than I had anticipated.
These factors notwithstanding, my time out here was quite valuable, and a unique experience that I don't regret. When I graduated, I felt strongly that a break from academia was needed, and this seemed an ideal way to do it. I cemented a love of skiing, and improved drastically in that area. (Of course, not as much as I wanted to, but that is to be expected) I also ended up feeling very positively about my aptitude as a bar tender, and there certainly were aspects of it that I enjoyed. Moreover, I think the mere experience of working consistent 12 hours shifts in the service industry was invaluable. I was able to get very close to Jon, Meg and their three children---people who force me to challenge my sometimes dour view of humanity by virtue of their overall terrific-ness. (A technical term) Last, but certainly not least, I fell in love with this part of the country--and realized how beneficial an active lifestyle, couple with unending natural beauty, can be to not only your physical but mental health.
A mixed bag, certainly, and quite the growing experience. What lies in store for me next?? Well, that will be for the next post.