Carney column: A summer recharge and a return home
For the first time in two years since moving to the lovely Western Slope, I was able to return to my hometown of Pittsburgh to see family.
With that, I was also able to experience flying for the first time in my life on a commercial airliner. I know, flying for the first time at 24 years old? Yes, that’s me.
I have to say, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, minus the takeoffs and landings, which were an adventure in and of themselves.
But enough about that. Getting a chance to go home and see my family was something that I really needed. Since I started work here in September 2015, I had yet to really take a vacation. I had the chance to take a few days off here and there, but nothing like I was able to do this past week, flying home to Pittsburgh for a full week.
Granted, that might not be a true “vacation” to most because it wasn’t a tropical destination or a sight-seeing trip, but home is home. More on that later.
I was able to experience the familiar sights and smells in downtown Pittsburgh, while also getting a chance to see just what had changed at home in Natrona Heights, 15 minutes outside of the city.
To be honest, not a lot changed. I liked it that way. It was nostalgic.
At home, I was able to really digest everything that has happened in the last two years in Colorado while on the high school beat and realized how lucky I am to get a chance to not only live in Colorado, but also work here.
Sure, I miss my family, and I miss being able to go to Pirates games whenever I want in the summer, but getting a chance to explore the mountains and rivers of Colorado with my best friend, Karlie, by my side every step of the way sure beats Pittsburgh any day of the week.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my time at home, because it was a blast. Spending time with my mom and brother, Jake, at Pirates games was something I was truly looking forward to since the vacation was planned, as was golfing with my dad and brother on Father’s Day at one of the popular courses back home. I also got to see my grandparents and aunts and uncles that I hadn’t had a chance to see in person since I left Pennsylvania; that was special to me, especially with my grandparents, whom I don’t know how much time I have left with them around.
Those special moments even included the chance to celebrate the Penguins’ second straight Stanley Cup win with roughly 650,000 fans on a ridiculously hot day in downtown Pittsburgh at the Pens’ championship parade. Man, what a day that was with my mom, family friends and an old friend from college I hadn’t seen in four years. What a blast that was.
There was a lot of running around and visiting that took place, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a great chance for me to unplug from work life here in Colorado and really get the chance to recharge mentally and physically.
Although I didn’t get a chance to keep up with my running at home, I was able to rest up and really reboot my system, which seemed to be running on empty more often than not as of late.
But now that I’m back in Colorado and back to work, I feel an added sense of rejuvenation. But I also realized that I’m actually home. No, I’m not back in Western Pennsylvania, but I’m truly home here in Colorado with Karlie and our three dogs: Journey, Chance and Grace. This is my place, and they’re my circle out here. I couldn’t wait to get back to them.
While there is that saying that you can’t go home again, I was able to for a week and really be at peace with my decision to move here for work, leaving behind all that I knew growing up. No matter where I go in life, whether that’s staying here in the valley for the rest of my life or moving on to a bigger market much later down the line, Colorado is home.
Pittsburgh will always hold a special place in my heart, as will all of my family and friends back East, but I’m back in my comfort zone here in Colorado, and I’m ready to tackle the summer with plenty of adventures with Karlie, as well as stories on exciting athletes, teams and situations regarding prep sports here in the valley.
This is my calling, and this is where I’m happy to be. I’m ecstatic to call this valley home and share my adventures with each and every one of you.
I’m recharged and ready to go, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time for me, personally.
Josh Carney is the Post Independent sports editor.