A year ago, today, I started my job at U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), after applying, accepting and moving to Washington D.C. from Kansas in exactly two months. (That still makes me exhausted just thinking about it). I will not reminisce too much about the decision to apply and my move because you can read about that here, here and here.
On one hand, I don’t think it is really that big of a deal, but on a personal note, it is. Earlier today, I was reading my blog post from last year that explained why I was taking this leap…
From that blog post…
“There’s just so much more I was want to do and experience. I want my career to be bigger. I want my life to be as colorful, cheesy and fulfilling as possible. I’ve never wanted to be the person that looks back and regrets what I didn’t do.”
Looking back over this past year and seeing how full my life has been, I can say that all of that and more rings true. I am proud of how I have grown and am very happy with where I am right now.
I LOVE MY JOB. I made a huge life change and left a place and people I loved, so there was a lot weighing on it, and it honestly could not have been a better fit for me. I get to utilize and develop my skills and talents every day, and I continue to work in the industry that I wholeheartedly believe in. While every agriculture commodity has its own unique history and set of challenges, I love everything about the wheat sector — its value, complexities and most of all, the “wheaties,” who have won me over. The farmers that I represent and get to work with are some of the finest; hardest working people I know, and have already had an impact on my life. The work is challenging and the learning curve continues to be steep, but day in and day out, they are what motivates me to be my best self. And to round that out, I could not ask for better colleagues. It is a testament when someone has been with the same organization for 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years, and that is a common occurrence at USW. I am surrounded by people who are fiercely passionate about their work. They are hardworking, funny, nurturing and most importantly, they invest in each other, which creates a rich, family environment. Most days it really feels like I have been at USW much longer than a year.
My parents sent me these beautiful flowers for the occasion. It can be hard sometimes living so far away from my family and not being a part of each other’s daily lives, but I am so thankful for their unwavering love and support.
Finally, it did not take much, but I have fallen in love with this city. In my mind, strolling past the monuments and being connected to so much history and history in the making will never stop feeling surreal. And I would not want it to. Sure, I am still a country girl at heart, but I cannot help but love the culture and variety of life here in Washington D.C. There is ALWAYS something fun and interesting going on here and the city is bustling with so many career- driven, inquisitive minds. It can definitely be intimidating at times, but this environment is exactly what I was seeking. I continue to meet people who add color to my life and after a year, my list of experiences and places to explore is still endless.
I certainly do not take for granted how fortunate I am to be living here and in a job that I love. Over the last year I have had quite a few people ask me about “my story,” how I got here, how I sorted through my options and what led me to this decision, how I navigated through my new experiences and more. My simple answer is that I listened to my gut. When my daydreams and goals were presented as a tangible opportunity, I knew it was something I could not pass up, regardless of my fears (because trust me, I have lots of them). From there I have had to work on my faith, patience and independence. My faith and trust in myself, and that things will work out how they are meant to. The patience needed to navigate so many experiences and new things to learn. The independence it takes to live in a new (and big) city and start out again not knowing anyone.
This past year has been so much more than I could have ever imagined.
I am so ready for round two.