Bayens: Looking back and forging ahead
It was never my plan to be a real-estate broker. I wanted to be Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings or Dan Rather.
I followed the news and current events from a young age, was always comfortable with public speaking, and defended the idealistic view journalism had the power to change the world. Woodward and Bernstein were early heroes for their Pulitzer award-winning, deep-background, shoe-leather reporting that brought down a sitting U.S. president. The truth would always prevail.
I pursued a journalism degree and worked as a TV news anchor and reporter for ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates before moving to the area in 2002. The plan was to take a year-long breather after five moves the previous 10 years — each one to a larger market, more money, more pressure, more stress, and the realization the fourth estate was perilously endangered.
Edward R. Murrow warned as much in his famous “Wires and Lights” speech in 1958. He said, “It will be a dangerous day for American broadcasting if we ever reach the point where they who have the most money are allowed to dominate the marketplace of ideas.” Even so, beaten and bruised by breaking news and “if it bleeds, it leads,” I thought I’d find a path to return to my chosen vocation.
Instead, I was seduced by life here in the mountains — this place and these people. They healed me and inspired a different path, one I’ve never regretted. My first few years here, I tended bar, read the news on KSNO, sold memberships for the Aspen Chamber — anything to pay the rent and keep me here in wonderland. But, life gets real when bills come due, and Peter Pan must grow up.
Candidly, earning my real-estate license in 2005 was a means to an end and easy money, or so I thought. Many of the bartenders and ski instructors I knew back then owned at least one investment property. Not surprising for the times, as new loans were approved by the millions without so much as a credit or income check.
I made good money before the crash and, with it, bought my first condo. Two years later, I sold it for double the money, bought a house, bought another condo, and a vacant lot, too. I still have the house but lost the rest and, with it, racked up another professional failure that nearly forced my exodus from paradise.
Defeated, fearful, and pessimistic, I wasn’t much of a “glass half full” kind of a guy. I prayed but assumed I wasn’t heard. I reached out to some for guidance, but my desperation erased any forward progress, inspiration, or motivation. I asked for and was given money from my parents — certainly no cure for zero confidence.
Despite my dire circumstances, seeds I couldn’t yet see were being planted. Substantial, seminal, life-altering gifts, some I never imagined or asked for, began to emerge and develop. I met my sweet and patient wife, we married, and, within a year, had our one and only son.
At the time, I wasn’t privy to the powers of positive thinking. I wasn’t aware of the benefits daily affirmations, intentions, and gratitude have on the human psyche. I thought it more likely I could manifest a ham sandwich, much less a family of my own, a whole new sense of purpose and reason to persevere.
It’s taken me years to recognize, honor, and embrace those precious nuggets provided to me ever so subtlety when I was at my lowest and most vulnerable.
The miracle of how and why it all came to be remains a mystery, or is it?
For some, it’s God; for others, it’s “The Universe.” Still others would say it’s fate or the result of “toughing it out” or pulling up the ol’ bootstraps. But, for me, it’s becoming more clear. A wish is a prayer is an intention. I did that. I asked for help. It didn’t come how or when I wanted it, but it came. My journey back was difficult but one I now understand tempered my steel and helped forge the path ahead.
Now, I’m proud to say I am a real-estate professional in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. I am beyond grateful for my family, our home, having a purpose, and an opportunity to serve, good health, friends, clients, and community.
That said, there is still so much more to do and learn. Joy and peace are elusive on a hamster wheel, the destination rather than the journey often the misguided goal. So, my wish for me and mine, for you and yours, this holiday weekend, is clarity, enlightenment, the here and now, with an optimistic eye to the future.
Scott Bayens is a Realtor with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. Visit his website at http://www.scottbayens.com.