Vail Daily column: Why we live in the valley
This morning I was tasked with going up on Beaver Creek Mountain to unlock Spruce Saddle for the day. On the way, I was greeted by a herd of 12 deer, a half dozen elk and a view looking down on the Gore Range below a beautiful, cloudless, bluebird day.
That got me to thinking of why I have spent the last 35 years of my life here. Many times it has not been easy living in this valley. The cost of living is high, sitting in traffic on Interstate 70 during a winter snowstorm can be frustrating, and surviving the annual onslaught of tourists can be endless source of frustration, amusement and amazement. But those days are the balancing factors for the mornings like this. After spending well over half my life here, I still had to stop and take some pictures of this glorious morning.
I was once told that people make their decisions in life based on three factors: family, environment and career. Knowing the answer to those three things will tell someone if they’re in the right place. I spent well over three decades in the fire service, most of which were here in Eagle County. The job opportunities in a small department were somewhat limited compared to other departments in the bigger cities. Many of the firefighters who moved on to other larger departments returned for a visit as captains or chiefs. They had moved up in the ranks while I remained somewhat stagnated in my career. I often wondered if I had made the right decision to stay. But looking back now, I realize I may have put my career on hold, but I did satisfy the other remaining factors. I have a great family and I couldn’t be more proud of who they’ve become. I also raised them in one of the best environments on the planet.
Was life easy? No, in fact sometimes it was downright hard. Being a blue collar worker living among millionaires is never easy. I worked two or three jobs to support my family. That extra money was spent on an endless chain of Buddy Werner ski teams, ice skating lessons, gymnastic competitions, horses and rodeos, tap dancing and ballet lessons, as well as less organized activities such as bike riding, rafting, camping and last-minute trips in general to nowhere, just because. My rationalization has always been, “Why live here if you can’t take the time to enjoy all benefits of those sacrifices?”
So the next time you’re approached to answer a seemingly stupid question that everyone should know the answer to, smile and remember why you’re here. Family, career and environment! Not everyone has the opportunity to satisfy the majority of those life choices.
Al Bosworth is a retired firefighter who still lives in the valley with his wife of 25 years.
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