On Valentine’s Day, I returned to my hometown of El Paso, Texas for an undetermined amount of time. In need of sorting out a few aspects of my life including future career paths, I went back to the city that molded me both as an individual and as a writer. My head was cluttered with questions, options, possibilities and needs. I was at a standpoint where only uncertainty lied ahead. El Paso seemed as much of a good place to figure things out as any.
At home, I found myself unemployed, without a permanent address, emotionally depleted and without any plans in motion. It was wonderful.
For many years, I was the kind of person who handled multiple tasks and jobs, was very invested in school, constantly seeking out opportunities that would further my career and experience, was giving to both my family and friends and trying to amend a broken romantic involvement. I had a vivid notion of what I was doing and what I wanted to do.
I left El Paso when I graduated from college in 2016 and stayed in Washington, D.C. while pursuing career ventures. I had two internships, one with The Washington Monthly and another with NPR, which incredibly helped to further develop myself as a writer and journalist. These two opportunities improved my work ethic and skills while introducing me to incredibly talented and wonderful people.
However, I missed the surroundings of which I had grown accustomed to.
After my internship with NPR concluded, I was left without any concrete plans. Like many people with nothing to do, I returned home while I awaited for life to hand me the details of what was to come next.
And there I was, waking up in my old room at my parent’s house with no plans for the day other than to enjoy my hometown of El Paso while I had the chance.
I had been away for about 10 months-aside from the few days I was there over Christmas break-and I was in dire need of reconnecting myself with who I am. I needed to utilize my Spanish by actually being engaged in conversation. I needed to galvanize my stomach with home-cooked Mexican meals. I needed to spend quality time with my parents while meeting new people, galavant through the streets of downtown El Paso and hear stories from my fellow El Pasoans. I wanted to watch the alluring El Paso sunsets. I wanted to hike the trails of the Franklin Mountains and glance down at the streets that helped raised me. I needed to remind myself of who I was, where I was born, what my people are like and reacquaint myself with the borderland; a magical, lovely and esoteric place. It is a place intertwined with my soul and being, a place where I feel safe and at ease. El Paso is not only home, it is a source of inspiration, grounds for personal growth and aspirations. The people, the culture, the streets, the art, the food, the company, the gatherings. It is all part of who I am. I needed to experience El Paso living again.
But I also needed to leave my past behind and concentrate on my future.
And so after much thought and contemplation, I decided to take a leap of faith and focus on my all-time dream of living in New York City.
As of right now, there is no definite job offer, no detailed directions, no concrete plan. There is still a lot of uncertainty but also a lot of determination. Some of us, like myself, take a few detours on the path toward our destination and that is perfectly fine as long as you refocus on what you are trying to accomplish.
I took a hike while in El Paso with a cousin of mine and a new friend. We hiked to the top of the mountain, took turns standing atop of a boulder and took in the picturesque view of the entire city. Personally, I was at my lowest low. Physically, atop a boulder of the Franklin Mountains, it felt as if I was at the top of the world. I made my decision then and there, regaining my focus on my ultimate goal is what I want to contribute while on earth. The simile is cliche, but it’s also honest.
Here in my hometown, I recognized once again that life isn’t going to hand you the details of your future. It is you that starts to iron-out those details for yourself.
And so I thank El Paso for sheltering me while I found myself again. Just like a mother would, you allowed me to make mistakes, learn from them and make the decisions I needed to make to improve myself.
Thank you as well to the many people, both old and new, that made my extended stay in El Paso memorable. Yes, the city itself is a beautiful place, but it is you that makes it worthwhile.
Thank you as well for allowing me the cathartic experience of leaving my past exactly where it needed to be; the place where it was born and where it ceased to exist.
I was briefly wanderlust, from my hometown to D.C. and Martinsburg, West Virginia to Dallas and then El Paso again.
Now, onward to New York and to accomplishing my dreams.