Summer has come and gone and I’ve been drawn back into the overwhelming social scene that is Bozeman. The past week has left me adjusting back to “reality,” however you want to define that, and feeling a lot of different ways.
In a lot of ways, Bozeman feels more like home than anywhere else ever has. There’s something about standing on top of the Bridgers, looking out on the Crazies, the Absarokas, the Gallatins, the Madisons, and the Tobacco Roots that eases my mind and constantly reminds me how good life is. To be surrounded by the ancient energy of mountains is to be constantly humbled by Earth’s power. On a social aspect, Bozeman has fostered most of my self growth. Growing up in Nevada allowed for my interest in telemark skiing to blossom, our move to Colorado threw me into telemark racing, and my decision to continue racing throughout college brought me to MSU.
So in a lot of ways, I have been shaped by the mountains and skiing. But the turning point in my love affair with the mountains came with the realization that there was more to skiing than just racing. Bridger Bowl provided me with a majestic playground to explore the big mountain world, and ever since joining this world I have been on a path of self exploration that has left me doing the things I want to be doing because of how much fun they are, instead of busting my butt in the gym or sprinting up hills because I think it will help me win a World Cup. This season will be my third season without racing and it seems like each season has brought me closer to what I really want to be doing with my life.
Last fall, I took a Wilderness First Responder course and immediately wanted to jump into my EMT. Financially, it wasn’t a possibility so I continued to work at the Co-Op and focus on teaching yoga and when winter hit, of course skiing was my main focus. This fall I have plans to get my EMT and am enrolled in a course that starts on the 18th of October and couldn’t be more stoked. Working on the river this summer reminded me that having first responder training is a really valuable skill and really, all of us who play in the meowtains, backcountry, river, oceans, etc., should have some sort of basic training in first aid. So with all that being said, I am more than happy to be back in Bozeman and ready to start a new chapter in my education.
Like I said earlier, Bozeman’s social scene can be overwhelming. I often describe myself as an awkward, introverted person even though my friends and family would tell you that I’m loud and extroverted and am always doing something. It takes a lot of internal persuasion and self talk to get me out of the house for shows, parties, even trips to the grocery store, because if you know Bozeman, you know you legitimately can’t make a trip to T&C without seeing at least seven people you know and their dogs. Which is why when I got back last Thursday I ran to the store at 8pm, and luckily only ran into one friend. And although I just said that Bozeman feels more like home than anywhere else, when I got back on Thursday I felt like I had entered an alien world. After living in a cabin in the woods all summer and working with the same group of people, Bozeman felt like the biggest of cities and I was quickly over stimulated with activities and people. But then Saturday hit and Cory and I skied and everything was right in the world again.
That night friends from Glacier Raft (GRC) got to town and we found more GRC people to play with and now here I am a week later having gotten to interact with a total of nine GRC friends. And it’s fabulous because it has reminded me that while seasons will always change, it doesn’t have to be summer to play with your summer friends and winter friends will find you in the summer. I reminded myself to take deep breaths because everything is going to be ok. Bozeman is home and it’s where I am happy and I often forget that. I find myself becoming overwhelmed and stressed here, always wanting to make other people happy and finding it hard to say “no.” A certain human I worked with this summer brought it to my attention that I have been a type B personality all summer. I was easygoing, immune to stress and a ball of happy energy all the time. Bozeman, he’s noticed, has brought out my type A personality. I’m competitive, stressed out, worrying about the people around me and how they perceive me; how I can make them happier and not upset with me, and I am quick to snap at the people I care about the most, pushing them away when they are the ones I need to keep my sanity. So the past few days I have been observing myself. Noticing when I feel stressed and how to both internalize and externalize it, voicing it but not unloading it on someone else. And yes, in Bozeman I am type A; I like the house clean and the garage organized, a clean refrigerator and a functioning schedule. I try to tread lightly and not slam doors, play music too loud or shout across the room. I do my best to make plans with friends and be present for those interactions. But if this summer taught me anything it’s that I need to embrace my type B. I need to f*cking chill and remember that we are all only human, we make mistakes and forget to water the plants sometimes. I want to slow down and nourish my mind and body, which doesn’t happen when you’re running at a million miles an hour. Remember that you can still have goals, work hard and maybe get in a little over your head but handle it with grace. Maybe writing this all down and sharing it with the world will keep me accountable. Maybe I’ll still have explosions here and there. But for meow, I’m embracing my type B.A. personality, emphasis on the B. And I will call it type BadAss. And I will be happy and free and do more of the things that I want to do instead of the things I think I should do.
Cheers friends. Thanks for being here.