When I first arrived in Missoula in 2009, I was a fresh faced kiddo filled with optimism and a strong sense of entitlement. I had just come out of a particularly rough patch in my life, and I was no longer proud of the reputation I had gained in my home city of Billings. I saw Missoula as a way to start things over with a clean slate, and get a taste of the “real” college experience I wanted so badly.
But after five years, six apartments, four jobs, three heartbreaks, and two friends lost to suicide, my worldview has changed.
I no longer feel that the world owes me something, I’m not a special snowflake that’s more valuable than anybody else. I’m learning to be thankful for the blessings I have received, and to share them with others instead of hiding them away. I’ve learned to stop shoving my opinions down people’s throats, because I usually don’t understand the full context behind any given situation.
With these lessons in mind, it’s time for me to bid farewell to Missoula. July will be my last month in this beautiful city before I move back to Billings. After a couple months there, I’m moving to New York City to join Dan and his wonderful wife.
Why New York? That’s a good question, and the answer isn’t as simple as a job title or a blank slate. I’m going to New York City to up the stakes on a risk-averse life. I’m going to New York to, in the words of Scott Snyder, be “burned down to the purest core, the purest hero that you know is inside you”.
My current life, while full of great moments and people, is incredibly safe and predictable. It’s time for me to find out how far I can fly without a net. I may end up working as a web designer, a journalist, a barista, or a caterer, but at the end of the day I’ll be learning how to work with conviction and diligence instead of entitlement and attitude.
There will be a day when I long for comfort and predictability, but today is not that day. Today, I long for adventure.
With that, I bid farewell to this town, and to my friends that have filled my life with such happiness. Goodbye to the big skies that have hung over me for so many years, and the familiar sights and smells that have greeted me each morning. I’ll be back to visit Montana in the future, but for now I want to fill my last few months with as much thankfulness and celebration as possible. So here’s to the nights we felt alive, they really have been something.