I met Corinne back when she was working at Death Valley National Park through my friend Hannah. It’s true, when you constantly post photos from a beautiful national park, I immediately think “what a wonderful life!”. Here’s Corinne’s response.

From the time I left Georgia a year ago to work seasonally in the National Parks, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard “can I have your life?” or “your life is so much cooler than mine!”

In the beginning I took those remarks as innocuous compliments, but then I realized how dangerous it could be for me to end those discussions with just an awkward “thank you?”

What started happening was a chancy game of comparison, and I quickly became aware that if I didn’t put an end to it, my ego would erupt, and the expectation for my life to stay “impressive” or “adventurous” would only conclude in disappointment.

Here’s the thing: my life is hard, just like your nine-to-five job or your college student schedule. Seasonal life in the Parks isn’t easier than yours, and living in Montana does not make me immune to sadness or boredom or running out of money.