A few weeks before I left for Colorado, I was gathered around my kitchen table with a big group of cousins and aunts, doing typical family Christmas things: eating cookies and drinking wine and gossiping about people. The topic of my move to Colorado came up and one of my cousins said, “She won’t make it six months out there.”
And then another cousin said, “Yeah, we have bets on how long it’ll take you to move back home. We give you six months.” And then they chuckled.
Uh, excuse me?
I can understand that maybe moving across the country on a whim is not exactly the way everybody chooses to live their lives, but, uhhhhh, guys, why you gotta be so mean?
That was in December. I moved to Colorado in January. Right now it’s mid-September. And shockingly enough, I’m still here! In Colorado!
This year has been the most view-changing, eye-opening, soul-shifting, confidence-boosting, fear-slashing year of my life. In 2014, I picked myself up from a disastrous relationship that left me a little lost and I drew up some new life plans. In 2015, I decided I wanted to start living the way I wanted to live. No matter how many mistakes and tears and blunders I had to stumble through.
In February, I traveled to Peru with two of my closest pals in the world. I started working at hotel. I took all of my newfound “down time” and detoxed from all stress and meltdowns I’d been having back at home. I became accustomed to all of the flaming Colorado pride and explored the surrounding areas.
In March, I quit that job at the hotel because 1) it was mind-numbingly boring and 2) I got a new job as a web editor at an amazing magazine publishing company in Boulder, where I still work and where I’ve met tons of incredible new people. My job & the people I’ve met there have been some of the greatest sources of joy and comfort I’ve found in Colorado.
Before my first day, I took a 3-day trip to San Diego — my inaugural taste of California and something of a mini-personal-pilgrimage to a place I’d like to someday call home. I met some new people in March, I explored surrounding cities like Cheyenne, Wyoming, and I started to get excited for my upcoming summer adventures. March is when my life in Colorado started to take shape.
In April, I fell into a healthier life routine — meaning I started going to bed and waking up early again, I started eating better, I went to work every day and became acquainted with my new responsibilities on the job. I spent Easter in Dallas with my mom and some extended family. At the end of the month, 3 of my best pals visited me (including my 2 Peru travel mates) and we journeyed to western Colorado and the desert in Moab, Utah.
In May, I grew closer with some new girl friends and became more comfortable in my position at work. My favorite cousin had a precious baby boy and I surprised her in Texas to meet him. I did more hiking and my appreciation for Colorado’s natural beauty continued to expand. I started to feel really homesick. At the end of the month, my sister Amy came to visit.
In June, I didn’t sit still. AT ALL. Amy was here and we traveled all over Colorado — from Denver to Colorado Springs to Mount Evans to Hanging Lake to the Continental Divide to Aspen to Boulder. We explored Devil’s Tower and South Dakota and Nebraska. I went to San Francisco for a quick weekend of kayaking and camping at Point Reyes National Seashore with a good friend from my time studying abroad in London. I secured a new apartment. Things were looking good.
In July, I realized that I needed to stop spending so much damn money and slooooow the helllllll down. My parents came to visit, my pal Hannah came to visit, and I went home for almost 2 weeks to catch up with my best friends and family and OH THE MEMORIES that were made. This was my 6-month mark, and though this is when I started to realize how truly hard it can be to live on your own so far away from family, I still had no intentions of moving back home.
When I moved into my new apartment, it felt like I then officially lived in Colorado — and that kind of scared me for a few days. I was no longer living with my cousin in an apartment where 95% of the furniture/kitchen appliances/misc household things were hers. I was living alone now, with no deadline or graduation date or any external factors at all that would determine when I’d leave. It was all up to me. I was really living in Colorado, 1800 miles from my home, indefinitely.
In August, I continued to struggle with balancing all of the mundane parts of adulthood — after 17+ years of schooling, you’d think somewhere throughout the years we’d have gotten a lesson or two on how credit cards work, or what the “equity” means, or how you’re supposed to know when to get your oil changed. Things were hard in August. I realized that I might be perpetually caught between the realistic perspective of needing to play by the rules of “adulthood” and rebelling against those rules — wanting to be liberated from my material things and my student loan payments, with the freedom to roam around the world as I please, pursuing real dreams of writing books and other artistic endeavors.
In September, I started to buckle down. I’ve been having a lot of fun meeting guys and checking out new places in this new home of mine out west, but I’ve been more concentrated on all of my various personal pursuits, too. I continue to have mini meltdowns every few weeks because I consistently try to accomplish too much at once, but as idiotic as it may seem to some, I’m going to continue to pursue all the crazy artistic goals that cause my regular breakdowns. ‘Cause I need to. All the craziness in my head is what I’m really on this planet for, ya dig?
So it’s now been more than eight months since I’ve moved to Colorado. Whaddaya know? I made it 6 months. Living, breathing, heart-pumping, I made it. I wouldn’t have made it without 1) my homies Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway and all of their honest words and 2) the INSANE amount of support of my parents and sister and friends and other special people in my life (I legitimately would be a deranged homeless person sleeping in a box on the street right now if not for them).
Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with being out here alone that I feel like I’m drowning, but I can say with complete honesty that I haven’t regretted moving here for one minute. I’m meeting new people, maintaining friendships, seeing incredible new places all across the western United States, exploring my own independence (whatever that means). This is a really really really extraordinary part of our country. Colorado still doesn’t feel like a permanent home for me, but I’m enjoying myself maybe… 95% of the time, and I’m thankful every single morning on my way to work that I get to drive west toward those majestic mountains.
So to my cousins who bet I wouldn’t last 6 months — how much $$$ do I win?