The thing they never tell you about the word “bittersweet” is that the “bitter” part is just as prevalent as the “sweet”. There’s something about leaving your hometown that makes you fall in love with it, and appreciate it in a way that you never had while you were living there. Maybe it’s because of the relative inaccessibility of familiarity, or just the fact that you’re getting way out of your comfort zone by moving to a brand-new place. Maybe it’s just human nature telling us to fear change, although we know it’s inevitable. Change is what allows us to grow and live the way we’re meant to live. So, as painful and scary as it can be to undergo change, it’s necessary in order to chase your dreams.

Within the last two weeks, I graduated college, moved home, and moved to Colorado. All I’ve ever wanted to do is become a rancher, and my last two summers south of Laramie served to cement that dream and help it become a reality. So when all of my classmates were applying for grad school, or PR and human resources jobs at Detroit-based companies, I was scrolling through Ranch World Ads, searching for cattle ranches with an emphasis on natural horsemanship, checking everywhere to see if they had any job openings starting in May. Finally, after a lot of searching and praying and conversation, I ended up taking a job with a working dude ranch in Colorado that had pretty much everything I was looking for. And when it came time to start the job, I was excited, but also felt torn by the upcoming change.

My 24-hour road trip was filled with emotion. Part of it was just me hoping that my truck would run, because it had been in the shop twice in the week leading up to my cross-country commute. Another chunk of the trip involved searching for gas stations and rest areas, flying down the interstate and cruising down Kansas county roads with the windows down. There was a good while after Humble and Kind came on that I couldn’t stop crying, missing what I was leaving behind and nervous about what I was heading toward. Those tears were counterbalanced by whooping with excitement when I crossed the Mississippi, and again when I saw Pike’s Peak for the first time in my life.

That’s where the bittersweet part came in. Not everything in life is black and white. There’s a lot of grey area and uncertainty, and at the end of the day, you have to be willing to take the risks that could result in reward or regret. You have to push into it instead of withdrawing. And it’s tough. You have to discern carefully, and really trust that you’re making the right decision, and sometimes it won’t even pan out, in which case you just have to roll with the punches. (Easier said than done, of course.) When you do take a risk, you can always go home or move on, but if you don’t take the chance, you’ll never know what could come of the opportunities that present themselves in life.

When I was driving through Nebraska in the middle of the night, I passed several farmers out plowing their fields, the lights on their tractors as their only source of illumination. My immediate thought was, “Look at these guys, out here busting their butts to feed America.” I felt so grateful to them, and their work ethic, and dedication to their land and country. Then I realized that by making this move, I would be joining their ranks. Soon, I would be working just as hard to raise and help provide beef to consumers. It’s going to be a tough road, part of which I’ve already experienced in my life. Agriculture isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy. But few things of worth are. And I think it’s worth it.

 

(First Day in the New Hometown – Luke Doucet and the White Falcon)

(Had to get away so I could grow. But it don’t matter where I’m going, I’ll still call my hometown home. – Kacey Musgraves)

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