Lost and found

The saying goes, “not all who wander are lost” – a nice enough axiom, yet it implies that not knowing the way (being lost) is a bad thing. While it is certainly not a pleasant experience – our instinct for survival says as much – is being lost necessarily negative?

I am not a gypsy, but I admit that people who always know exactly what they are doing in life make me nervous. My anxiety partially stems from my own lack of a clear vision for my future, but I also fear for those people because very few things in life go according to plan.

I do not have a plan; but I have an idea. Soon I will be taking a sabbatical of indeterminate length from Durango. I am unsure what the next chapter will hold, but I am ready to turn the page. My boyfriend and I will be moving this fall.

We will pack up the truck and drive to somewhere new and maybe get a little lost.

Folks a generation older than me are joyful and assure me that “this is the time to do it.” Our peers seem more distressed and a little unbelieving – why would I leave Durango? To which I respond with the only valid reason I can find: because I was born here.

I feel unbelievably lucky to have been born in here – a major factor in my life, Durango made me the person I am. But I have a nagging suspicion that there is a great, big world out there beyond the La Plata and San Juan mountains; I cannot imagine this world being superior in any way, but it is different. I also feel unbelievably lucky that Durango is my home, a fact that does not alter with a change of address.

It has been far too long since I’ve been lost. I know the routes around town, even with construction; the mountains and the trails are as familiar to me as the people I run into in City Market. As I embark on my post, post-grad phase, I have been looking for the unfamiliar and yearning for a challenge. Though it seems sentimental, life changes always lend themselves to reflection and appreciation, and so I will take this opportunity to express my gratitude for a few wonderful years.

Three years ago, I wrote my first column for the Durango Telegraph. I introduced myself as a local girl working in the service industry and hoping to be a writer, someone who wanted to explore the road less traveled. I have waited tables, tended bar and been an adjunct writing teacher. I wrote and continue to write.

I have put myself forward through this column, and while everyone got to know me in print, here are a few things I learned about myself from writing for the Telegraph:

- I need a deadline. I once thought of myself as an especially motivated person who could manifest great things out of thin air; this is not the case. I am blessed with an abundance of ideas; however in order to turn them into reality, I need a deadline (be it a race day, a due date, or a self-imposed time limit). Some weeks the deadline crept quietly into my schedule, startling me into writing, while other times the idea struck first. Having a deadline made me write, which is always a positive for me.

- I am not a perfectionist. I do want perfection. I want to write a witty, insightful column every time. I would like every lesson plan to be something out of “Dead Poets Society.” This is not realistic. Reality has more to do with the fast approach of the aforementioned deadline. I have let go of perfection, and try to do my best every time, realizing even then that intent does not lead to this result. So I have learned from the flops and continue to write, write, write – the only way to get better.

- I cannot please everyone. I used to say this, but only in writing was I forced to deal with the truth of this statement because I aim to please. I dislike letting bosses, teachers, parents, friends, or my boyfriend down. When I first began writing for the Telegraph, I was an aspiring writer who had only ever been criticized by professors and peer editors. I was overly sensitive to any criticism I received. Along with perfection, the idea of being universally liked went quickly out the window and brought me a freedom to write for myself.

- I am grateful for what I have learned in my post-grad phase. I am grateful to Missy Votel for giving me a chance. I am grateful that I’ve been able to write this column for three years, that I’ve been able to develop as a writer. I am grateful that my little job writing opened the door for the chance to teach, which may lead to another unexpected opportunity.

Most of all, I am especially grateful for the many people over the years who have expressed an appreciation for my writing. Thank you.

Maggie Casey 

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows