I remember going on my second date with Braxton and talking about hunting for quite some time. More specifically, MLD (Managed Land Deer) properties in Texas and his experience on them. It surprised him that I knew anything about the subject, and it was in that moment that I had him hooked forever. Just kidding, totally kidding. Or am I? (Insert devilish grin). He told me how he had guided for several ranches, been involved in deer breeding operations, and always dreamt of making a living in the outdoors.
After having a child right out of high school, he was constantly pressured to stay in an industry that would provide and give him and his family a good life. That industry was construction, following his dad's footsteps, and it's all he's known for over 10 years. Then there's me, who's the daughter of a general contractor (making us both "construction babies") and who's never had two jobs that related to each other: cashier at a western store, eyelash extension artist, project manager assistant for a construction company, bartender at Texas country concerts, advertising agency intern, waitress, HR assistant in the medical field, freelance graphic designer, etc. I could keep going, the list seems never ending. I speak from experience when I say that having a job is often about figuring out what you don'twant to do for a living! Imagine if you've always had the same type of job and felt stuck - that's my husband. He was constantly told that his dream of being a cowboy, rancher, or guide would never make a comfortable living.
In all fairness, that's what people that love you are supposed to do - give advice and share their wisdom, in hopes that you will make good decisions that create a happy life. But what if those decisions make you feel empty? What if you go your whole life doing what everybody else tells you to do? The truth is that most people live in fear - fear of failure, fear of poverty, fear of having someone say, "I told you so" when your perfect plan starts falling apart. This keeps them from ever trying anything that they're passionate about, because how could you actually love the job that provides everything you really need? That seems so bizarre in our world today. There's this mentality that it's only a job if you're working a corporate 9-5 performing tasks that a robot could complete, or you're making six figures and hate every minute. What ever happened to doing what you love and loving what you do?
The beauty in marriage (or any relationship for that matter) is that you never quit learning about each other. I've been with Braxton for over 5 years and I feel like I came home to a new man this week. He's got a light in his eyes and an energy about him that I've never known, and I already loved him before when he wasn't truly happy. His mom told me he almost hyperventilated over the phone telling her about this opportunity, and I can believe it because he's suppressed this desire for so many years and now he finally gets to show the world his passion. So what is it? What's put a big smile on his face?
Lonehollow is one of the most well respected outfitters in the world, and certainly well-known in the state of Texas. Recently they purchased 21,000 acres of land in the hill country of our state, with the north side being about an hour from where we currently live. Through a series of events that I can't quite explain and haven't completely comprehended yet, he was offered a position as the wildlife specialist, where he will be helping grow a property from the ground up, managing the deer herd, and often be guiding clients he cannot tell anybody about. Even people with years of ranch managing experience or a college degree could only dream of an opportunity like this one. It’s a very prestigious outfitter with a wonderful reputation. In other words, there is no higher opportunity for this type of lifestyle. Nothing tops it, this is as good as it gets, and my husband landed the position.
I remember telling him when he left for his interview, "Just be yourself. They'll fall in love with you." If you've ever met him, you know he's one of the funniest, wittiest, down to Earth humans I've ever known, but he can be quiet initially for various reasons. On paper, most men could beat him any day. He dropped out of college when he found out he was going to be a dad at 18, and he has very little experience compared to others, but you will not find someone that works harder or that is more passionate about whitetail and managing properties. To top it off, he will get to help work cattle, which is his other passion. He will be an hour from his daughter, an hour from family, and he gets to live his dream.
We will pick up and move our life near Lampasas, TX in the next few months, where we will be truly engulfed in the outdoor lifestyle every single day. At times I will get to guide as well, but I'm not obligated to anything, so I will continue to travel the world and share my adventures with all of you. He will travel with me when he can, but if he can't make it, he will be doing what he loves and I couldn't ask for more than that. This is just a reminder to never lose touch with what feeds your soul. Don't allow yourself to feel that you're a failure before you ever get started. This was a long shot, an opportunity that I'm still wrapping my mind around, but I'm excited for our future. No more construction for him, no more waking up feeling miserable about his work; he's finally LIVING. Thank you God!
Cheers to a new chapter Braxton Byers! There is nobody more deserving. I LOVE YOU!