I’d come to a fork in my road. One direction led back to New Zealand, where I’d left a piece of my heart last year. It led to a work visa to market for a heliski company, back to the tight-knit outdoor industry through which moonlight the likes of Lydia Bradey and Alex Honnold. It led back to my good friends there, and all the shiny newness of adventures in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the world.
The other direction led to launching a groundbreaking initiative with the potential to change the face of industries, and working with some of the leading green companies, scientists, and influencers in the country. It meant the opportunity to take advantage of the locational freedom that working virtually offers and pack my bike, boat, skis and dog in the car to explore the American West, working from anywhere I can get cell reception.
I had been on both of these paths simultaneously over the last year (I have a shaky grasp on quantum mechanics, so don’t ask me to explain how that works). But now they were separating, and it was time to choose one of these lives.
The New Zealand option was attractive because it was cruisey, easy, full of immediate gratification on every level. I mean, marketing for a heliski company in Wanaka?! Come on.
The other path was hard. It meant long days tied to cell phones and computer screens, passing on adventures like trips to Revelstoke and the deepest powder day at Snowbowl, and constantly pushing my brain to its limits. It meant curbing my restlessness with Missoula enough to give in and call it my home base for now. And, as my friend Hank Green just eloquently articulated, doing the hard thing sucks.
“Sometimes things are placed in our path that test our commitments,” Amy said, the founder of Made Safe, the visionary woman who’d chosen me for her team in this initiative.
So after sleepless nights, pro and con charts (seriously), and lots of heart-to-hearts with my inner circle, I made my decision and committed for good, turning at the fork onto the road that keeps me here. Onto the harder path.
Of course there were lots of other reasons to stay, like seeing my canine soul mate through her golden years, and finally hearing my nephew say my name. Like making the adult move to set myself up well for the long term instead of becoming a ski bum in my mid-thirties.
I just chose between lives. I know I made the right decision. But I mourn the loss of that life I could have had in New Zealand, and sometimes I find myself looking over my shoulder back to the junction where I turned away from it.
But then I remember the big picture, and the ultimate weight on the scales of my decision: we only get to live this life once. Sometimes we’re given the opportunity to do something big, something that touches other people. As hard a path as it might be to walk, sometimes we’re given the opportunity to leave a mark on this world, and to do it with one of the rare visionaries who walk the earth, like Amy.
And sometimes, if we’re really lucky, the paths in our life meet back up again somewhere down the line.