Every once in a while it will just hit me. Oh yeah, there was that one time when I lived in Boulder. There was that one time I woke up pretty much every day and it was sunny and beautiful and I could walk a few blocks and start climbing a mountain. It really feels like a dream because it was so short, yet so impactful and so needed.
It wasn’t like I went there to join some hippie commune or study naturopathy at Naropa or train for climbing Everest. I went there as a completely average person who took a cool job at the newspaper. But at the time I was one miserable and confused person. All I knew was that I needed to get out of Iowa and try something different. Be somewhere different until I could wake up for once not terrified.
I’m not sure what kept me awake until dawn so many nights or sent me to the doctor so many times just sure I was dying. I think it was just fear that even though everything appeared right, it was not right. And it just kept getting more wrong by the day. I couldn’t stand one more day straining to read HTML code. I couldn’t bear the thought that I’d lost Mike. I didn’t know how to feel about the fact that I didn’t go to New York.
I’m so proud of myself for stopping it. I’m so proud of myself for taking a part time job with no benefits in another state that paid zero moving expenses. Even knowing that I would lose my job 10 months later I would do it over again a million times. As soon as I got there I felt different. Like the cloud had lifted.
No one had to convince me to smell the roses. I smelled the roses, the microbrews, the bulk granola, the dogs, the coffee, the burritos, the hippies, the money. I smelled the dirt, people. I soaked it all up.
Of course I got lonely and broke. And pretty soon I transferred my anxiety to wanting Mike to join me. There were some hard days.
But there are times I have to admit just how much I miss it.
I miss face-sized biscuits at Burnt Toast.
I miss the sometimes Chinese/sometimes breakfast restaurant in north Boulder.
I miss Whole Foods.
I miss running really slowly on the Boulder Creek Trail.
I miss hiking Mt. Sanitas.
I miss interviewing people who complete unbelievable feats of athleticism on a regular basis and then seeing them quoted in Outside later.
I miss biodiesel buses and bike lanes.
I miss Chinese food menus with brown rice and vegetarian egg rolls.
I miss the raccoon who ate pizza out of our dumpster.
I miss playing Pickle Ball with my co-workers.
I miss Jennie and Pete and Jim.
I miss working on Pearl Street.
I miss outfitters dedicated to women.
I miss the guy with the “John Kerry throws like a girl” sign.
I don’t miss drunken college students. Or the Denver airport. Or not having air conditioning.
I am truly afraid to go back because I am afraid I’ll strap myself to the nearest Aspen tree and never leave. But my life is here and my life is now. I’m just glad I sniffed the dirt while I had the chance.