Cross-Country Chronicles: Perseverance 2

In case you haven’t been following along, I’ll offer a brief synopsis of my current life situation. I grew up in Illinois. I’m a college student. I accepted an agricultural communications internship in Sacramento, California. I packed up my belongings and made the 2,100 mile drive from Chicago to NorCal. It was a big, super-duper-huge learning experience.

I already blogged about the fact that I hated driving through Utah at night. I could have easily stayed in Salt Lake City for fear of having to drive onward (or back) through the Rockies. Come to find out, the mountains were not the worst part of my trip. In my previous post about perseverance, I stated that I had an enemy named “Nevada.”

I knew I was going to dislike Nevada. Part of the problem was that after so much driving, the novelty of pretty scenery had started to wear off. I was into business mode. It was time to get to California, and after five other states, Nevada was just another geographical obstacle. Part of me recognizes that there was strange, exotic beauty there…most of me, however, just resented its existence.

It was there that I found myself thinking, “I just want to go home now.” I know, it’s kind of pathetic. But realization had sunk in that I was 1,500 miles away from home and there was no turning back. I hated Nevada, I hated driving, and after two and a half days on the road all I wanted was Mama’s cooking and my big comfy bed.

Cue Mike Haley.

You see, during my 33-hour drive, I spent significant amounts of time on the phone with my AgChat friends. The bulk of it was with Darin Grimm (a farmer from Kansas), and Mike (a farmer from Ohio). Mike talked to me during my “dark” period. I was not very thrilled with my lot in life for that period of time. I was moody, crabby, and I believe I redundantly used the word “unhappy” to describe myself. I complained about construction, the landscape, the heat, my car, my stiffness, the sky, the road, the construction, the drive, my hunger, my tiredness, the construction, and everything else under the sun.

It's amazing how I think grassy hills are pretty Nevada, all I see is brownness and frustration.

I remember telling him that I just didn’t want to “do” anymore. I wanted to stop doing and just not do anything. I wanted to not drive. I wanted to not think. I didn’t even want to listen to Chris Ledoux anymore. I just wanted to stop everything. I was crabby, tired, and a little emotional.

Mike’s response was, “Well, you’re on the third day. You have two options. Stop for a while, clear your head, and turn around. Go home. Or, you can stop for a while, buck up, and keep heading west. Home is a lot further away. Seems to me you don’t have a choice.” And, he was right.

I know now that Nevada wasn’t really that bad. I even stopped once or twice to take pictures. (Although, north-central Nevada really needs more gas stations with air pumps. That’s a story for another time, though.) The simple fact is, I hit a patch where going forward and turning back both seemed like impossible options. Nothing seemed worth doing. I just didn’t want to deal with any of it anymore. But, sometimes you have no choice, and the only way out is through.

I guess Nevada is kind of a "I-hate-you-but-you're-pretty" kind of way...

I knew that all along, it just took a no-nonsense big-brother-style reminder from a good-natured-but-cranky farmer in Ohio for it to really set in.

So, I did just what Mike suggested. I got off the interstate. I took a break. I snapped some pictures. I realized my passenger side tires were low. And, I went forward.

I can never sum up how happy I am that I had no choice but to keep on keepin’ on.


7 thoughts on “Cross-Country Chronicles: Perseverance 2

  1. Kelly, As I read this post and how you describe your life, instances, work, and daily struggles, I am reminded of a Chapter 4 The Goldilocks Principle in the book, Run Like a Girl by Mina Samuels. Like Samuel describes, I want certain aspects of my life to be perfect. But, we know perfection if ever obtained is short-lived. Mina Samuels describes that life is really about balance, not perfection. In particular, I think women are more focused on perfection than men and sometimes we focus on the negative.

    I particularly like a quote from this chapter. “Am I a runner? Or just a broken heart with Nikes?” Translated to something more relevant to me, “I am me? Or just a frustrated and stressed educator (wife, and mom) with a computer?”

    We have to decide who we are and to find balance in our lives (not just between work and family, exercise and rest, etc.), Also, we have to find balance in our mindset and emotions.

    I find your adventures exciting–new life, new expectations, new people, new place.. You got it Girl. Go get ’em.

    You have fans!

    • Anne, it’s always a pleasure to find a comment from you, whether here or on other social media channels. I feel like you have a knack for building useful messages into well-written and interesting posts. I just want to say thank you for taking the time to follow me (here and elsewhere) and reach out to me.

      I really can’t sum up the amount of revelations and realizations I’ve had in the last year, or even the last few weeks. Life is a constantly-shifting experience, and I have a knack for having a bit wake-up call just when I think I’ve gotten it worked out right. This internship has already been a profound learning experience for me in more ways than one, and the questions you asked in your comment are similar to ones I’ve asked myself quite commonly in recent days. I feel like there’s no simple way to abbreviate these feelings and experiences, because there is nothing simple about them.

      Thanks again, Anne. I truly appreciate your kind words!

  2. Pingback: Today Was Like a Sad Country Song… «

  3. Pingback: Cross-Country Chronicles: Ag Across America «

  4. Pingback: Cross-Country Chronicles: Perspective Matters «

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