Found in Yellowstone: Ricky’s Story
Yellowstone is a transformative place. We hear over and over from employees about how this place changed their life. The people they met and the adventures they had can last a lifetime. One such impacted former employee is Ricky Harney. Ricky came to Yellowstone in 2011 from New York to embark on a new adventure. During that time he has gained a lot of insight into Yellowstone and his own life. His inspirational story is one he was kind enough to share:
“You may not realize it, but this is a pivotal moment in your life. Many years from now, you will look back on your life and be at peace with the decisions you have made, or you will not. Life is merely a series of moments; some good, some bad, some extraordinary. It is up to you to decide which of the three will dominate your memories.
I moved to Yellowstone as a last ditch effort to find happiness in an otherwise mundane life. I had a great job, a house, and lots of toys. What I didn’t have was happiness, passion, or purpose.
Then the strangest thing happened. I did find happiness. I found my peace in nature, my passion in photography, and my home in Yellowstone.
I read an article some years ago written by a hospice nurse. She asked each of her terminally ill patients the same question,
“What is it that you most regret?”
Nearly all of them said the same thing,
“It’s not the things that they did, but the things they didn’t do that they regretted most; that they didn’t spend enough time with their kids, that they never took that vacation, that they didn’t reconcile with friends and family before they were already gone, that they never followed their hearts and dreams.”
I have been following my heart and dreams for five years now. I went from a welder to a photographer, from a plumber to a writer, from lost to found in Yellowstone. Never again will I pass on an opportunity. Never again will I let a knowing glance be wasted. Never again will I be content. There is always another plateau, another level of greatness to achieve. I am living the life I never dreamed. I am a nature photographer who has the privilege to live and work in our first national park.
I have been searching for answers for 6 years now. Why are we here? More specifically, why am I here? What is my purpose? I used to think photography was my calling. It was perhaps intended as my passion, not my purpose. My purpose is much more meaningful. My purpose is to help others find their way. That path is being defined as I speak to all of you this evening.
So, after all of that pondering this is my advice to you; live each day like you don’t get another, make a difference in people’s lives, and follow your heart and dreams. I hope that each and every one of you find your peace, your passion, and your home. Just add love and that is the meaning of life, for me anyway.”
Ricky used to work as the maintenance manager at Grant Village. You can follow him and his photography on Facebook under Healing Soul Photography.
Want to create your own Yellowstone story? Come work here. Fall is coming up, which is a fantastic time to explore and reflect on the beauty of this place, and we are currently hiring.