Epilogue: Milestones

I think I’ve wanted to write this blog post for a long time. My last blog post. An explanation of sorts, for why I stopped writing. Some closure. Ever since returning home I’ve been hung up on milestones – waiting for them, commemorating them, thinking wistfully of what was, and watching it slip further away. A year since traveling Europe. A year since waking up in Aiken. A year since completing my first event. Finally, a year since coming home.

You would think that after a year, the “homesickness”, the longing, the sadness at leaving behind friends, horses, a lifestyle, would have faded. It hasn’t. I still follow the North American eventing websites, the live results, the social media accounts. I wouldn’t know anything about the Australian eventing season, but I could tell you who’s winning back in Canada. Re-adjustment, re-integration back into an equestrian community is hard. I’ve been fortunate enough to find something to ride, but after my time abroad, I am spoiled for anything less than the best. Riding in my old second-hand saddle, in a paddock not quite flat, with no arena, no coach, and not much of an idea of how to re-educate a young polocrosse horse, I struggle to find the enjoyment that once came so easily riding the Rock. Babies and greenies are fun, but most of me yearns for the experienced horse, the one I can just get on, and lose myself in the nuances of a shoulder-in, or the art of riding an angled line. The one that teaches me, instead of me teaching it.

I miss the people, the horses, the lifestyle as much as I did the day I flew home. The milestones bring sadness and smiles – sadness because they’re over, smiles because they happened. A constant balancing act.

I’m not writing this to be depressing, or melodramatic, but rather to help myself find some closure. Today, without even realising it, I passed another milestone. I went to work, I walked into a room, I sat down, and I spoke with a small group of graduates aspiring to work where I do. A process that I went through about a year ago, when I managed to make it through all the applications and tests to attend an assessment centre for a highly regarded graduate program in a government department. A year ago, I left the assessment centre feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of my chances. Today, I shared my experiences with others in that situation, detailing how much I have experienced in the six short months I have been in my job. I have met wonderful people and worked on challenging and exciting tasks. I have moved states, moved cities, and moved out of home. I have capitalised on five long years of study, and attained the job I always wanted but never knew existed. I have started creating new memories.

For me, it’s hard to accept that I no longer have the luxury to drive five minutes to a beautiful barn, fetch an amazing horse, tack her up in beautiful gear and go off to ride with an amazing coach in a stunning arena, or through miles of forest, or around a perfectly manicured jump course. That simply does not exist here. What does exist is the beginning of a career, the forging of new friendships, the slow re-integration into the equine community, the slow re-education of a new horse. What exists now are memories, of the best kind, and new milestones.



4 thoughts on “Epilogue: Milestones

  1. Congrats on what sounds like an amazing job & fun opportunities lie ahead. Nothing in life is set in stone and you have a wonderfully balanced outlook; keeping an eye on what’s to come while savouring all that has been.
    I could do wih a bit more of that balance in my life 😉
    Keep up the fab work & inspiring others – your future whatever you are doing and wherever you ultimately end up is undoubtedly very bright indeed – you will go for in everything you do ☺


  2. Feel for you.
    Even had to go back and read this again.
    Still not entirely sure what to say that can help make it all better.
    Clearly, you were part of something profound, something big that simply cannot be obtained right now…
    Go, get your life on, and horses will most likely appear in your life again. And you may be able to have a horse you never in your wildest dreams thought you could have!

    My break was some 17 or many more years.

    It’s actually better now, doing it again!
    Now I must read some of your earlier posts to see what you were part of 🙂


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