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A mountaintop perspective on keeping grounded September 23, 2012

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.

Inside the Koelbel Building, home to the Leeds School of Business, I am finding fulfillment in my new role. (Photo by Lauren Seaton)

As I sit there, perched near the trail’s pinnacle, I enjoy a soothing breeze and the magnificent silence that accompanies the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains from an altitude of more than 9,000 feet. At this moment, I find validation in my decision to come here—to relocate more than 1,600 west of my longtime home.

Lifestyle has been an important motivator in my decision to move to Colorado. From the gentle terrain of the Colorado Front Range to the rugged incline of its mountains, the state provides a diverse playground for anyone with a passion for outdoor activities. Beautiful weather conditions for my first full weekend here prompts me to attempt my initial hike as a resident.

Golden Gate Canyon

I find my way to Golden Gate Canyon State Park despite relatively heavy traffic that wound its way through many of the mountain communities. Fall foliage is a primary draw for many, as the aspen trees are reaching their bright yellow peak.

So as I begin to walk the 4.5-mile route of Burro Trail, I find ample opportunity to reflect on the changes I have encountered over the past week.

I think about the new job with the University of Colorado. My appointment as director of communications and alumni relations for the Leeds School of Business provided the ticket here, but the job represents more than an income. I expect it to be a source of personal and professional fulfillment.

“So we haven’t scared you off yet?” I recall Melanie Sidwell asking me. Leeds’ assistant director of media communications pleasantly directed her question as I prepared to exit the office late Friday afternoon.

“Hardly,” I replied with a smile.

Melanie, along with Sarah Martens, associate director of alumni relations, and Lauren Seaton, assistant director of multimedia productions, have been an amazing force—holding things together in the absence of a director and, now that I’m onboard, making me feel completely welcome. They are doing everything possible to set me up for success, and I am grateful to have them as colleagues. The job, I conclude, is a source of strength.

But as I continue the hike, my thoughts wander to evenings encountered after work, returning to a near-empty apartment and struggling with the realization of I what I left behind. I occasionally get homesick and, in my darker moments, struggling with a nagging uncertainty that makes me wonder, “Why did I do this?”

Movers are scheduled to bring the remainder of my things to the apartment next weekend, so my comfort and a general sense of belonging will undoubtedly improve. But I confess that living conditions, as they stand now, remain a source of weakness.

I never doubted the challenges associated with moving far away, but I hold firm in my ability to overcome occasionally waves of uncertainty. And as I sit at my trial-side perch, I feel validated—pledging to stay grounded, take each day as it comes and keep my focus on the broader landscape.

Where better than the mountains to commit to such a perspective?


P.S. I had hoped to share photos from my hike but accidentally blew them away while syncing my new iPhone with my laptop. Clearly I’m also not in sync.



1. Margie Misiti - September 23, 2012

Paul ~ so glad you are enjoying your adventure! The moments of uncertainty will surely dwindle away. I live vicariously through you wondering if I could every talk my husband into a life change such as this. Actually he looked at me like I was crazy when I asked 🙂 Probably wondering if I was entering some sort of midlife crisis that he would have to deal with LOL ! It’s good to make changes and I’m envious of your bravery and drive. Keep posting so I can too dream!
Good Luck Friend!

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