On Leaving and Returning to New Mexico

Dear Reader,

If you know me at all, you know that I tend to be dissatisfied with different things in my life. First, I thought I wasn’t happy with my MFA program and that it wasn’t giving me what I needed so I left. I packed up my room in an apartment I’d lived in for barely more than a year and I moved to Boulder. And I love it.

I love it because Boulder is beautiful. It is. Every morning I wake up, get ready, eat breakfast, make coffee, and walk to work. I get to walk up a little hill and as soon as I get to the top I see the Flat Irons and it is one of the most gorgeous views. When the sun is shining or when there’s snow on the ground and the light reflects off of it, it makes me happy. It makes me feel alive.

I know a lot of my friends who have now entered the “real-world” are struggling with working the traditional 9-5 jobs. I am lucky in that I actually love my job. I’m passionate about it and I care about what I’m doing, the people my job serves – Native youth. I have an amazing boss who I look up to and respect and that makes my job even more enjoyable. University jobs have to be one of the best ones out there because most of the time the rec center is close by so you can workout during lunch and you can usually take several classes a year for free! What could be better than that?

So back to me being dissatisfied….I am now taking classes in CU’s MFA program and (surprise, surprise) there are some benefits but there are also some things I do not like about it. This feeling is exactly how I felt about UNM’s MFA program. Still, I’m learning a lot and maybe all programs have their benefits and their shortcomings.

In the nearly 11 months I have been living and working in Boulder I’ve learned a lot about myself. Perhaps dissatisfaction is all around us depending on our perspective. Perhaps the problems I found at UNM were really ripple effects of things I needed to work on within myself. Once I left UNM I began writing more than I ever had, I published several poems (which I had never done before) and I even won a $1000 prize. I ran my first half-marathon (I’m about to run my second tomorrow) and I traveled to Costa Rica. I’d say life is pretty good but all of this wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for my experiences at UNM, in the program, and in Albuquerque. The faculty there, my fellow students and colleagues, and even my students all provided me with the passion, skill, and experience to take on this new job and to write.

Obviously, Boulder has been good to me. I’m getting a lot done, “becoming a better person” (whatever that means) and I have two really great BoCo friends who I’m becoming close with and one good Stanford friend living in Denver.  I am so thankful for them and all of the experiences they’ve brought me as well. But while I love my time in Boulder and do not regret for one second the move I made, I still miss ABQ.

I flew to ABQ on Thursday afternoon and once I picked up my rental car and drove down the streets I once knew so well, I missed it. I miss the city, the old places I used to hang out at or my old writing spots. I miss the dear friends and connections I’ve made down here as well. Right now I’m sitting at my friend Jenn’s house with four other friends and we’re all writing. My two Boulder friends tease me for the fact that I actually think writing is “fun” and joke that I like to get together with people to write even though we don’t talk and just sit and write. It’s true. Writing is such a solitary act. Being a writer can sometimes be lonely because of this and so it is comforting for me to be able to share this act with others, even if the sharing is in silence. I miss this…I miss the community of writing. I miss this place.

To be fair, I have to say I’ve loved every place I’ve lived. My reservation (which has its problems) is still home, Stanford was great, my brief stint in DC was great, ABQ (I now realize) I loved, and I enjoy living in Boulder. Sometimes I think I’m a wanderer… I have wanderlust and I enjoy having “relationships” with the places I live. I love becoming attached and then moving and missing and returning – makes for good writing about place! Sometimes I am still dissatisfied with where I am in life. You’re probably thinking poor girl graduated from Stanford and is doing all of these things wah wah wah blah blah blah but hey, when you grow up thinking you’re going to do something “great” and impact the world in some way it makes you a harsh judge of yourself. I try to stay positive because every thing I’ve ever set my mind to I accomplished. I finished Stanford, I am a writer, and I now have one of my dream jobs. Even though I have strayed from my “path” I know I will make it back, eventually it will happen. One day (whether next fall or a couple years from now) I will return to finish my MFA.

I feel blessed and I love that I can (for now) be split between my love for ABQ and Boulder.

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