Thursday, October 4, 2012

five years.

::blockbuster crew!::
This past July marked my fifth year of living in Denver.  Whenever people ask me why I decided to move to Denver, I really have no answer.  I was 21, and was relatively speaking, perfectly happy in North Dakota.  I lived with my sister; my very very veryveryvery best friend.  I had a job which wasn't my most favorite, but my coworkers were rock-stars and kept me coming back day after day.  I was physically { and emotionally } close to my family both in Fargo or a quick 4 hour drive to my hometown.  I had gained an incredible circle of friends from different jobs I'd had in the 4'ish years I lived in Fargo.  Not to say my life there wasn't enough, but it wasn't fulfilling for me.  It wasn't challenging.  I knew which days friends would be at a certain restaurant, because they always went on Tuesdays.  I knew the schedule of all my old Blockbuster friends { and when to go in for free rentals! }.  I knew who was working at my favorite coffee spot based off which cars were parked outside.  Typing this out now actually sounds quite comforting and rather nice...but not to a 21 year old.  And especially not to a 21 year old graphic designer who when she told people in North Dakota what she did for work they responded with " work with computers?"  Needless to say the room for growth in my field at the time was slim to none.

::feb 07::
I had visited my aunt in Denver February of 2007 and she could see it on my face how unhappy and filled with discontent I was.  During my trip she says to me "Come and live in my basement until you find a job and get your feet off the ground.  Craig { her brother, my uncle } did it for me, let me do it for you."  After she opened her door to me, I basically had my mind made up right then and there that I would take her up on it.  That July, I packed up life as I knew it into my Honda Accord and moved to Denver.  If it didn't fit in the car, it didn't come.  The days leading up to July 5th were rough.  Dozens of tears were shed saying goodbye to my friends, hundreds of tears were shed saying goodbye to my family and thousands of tears were shed saying goodbye to my sister. Looking back on the move, it's insane to me to think how quickly I made a life changing decision just like that ::snap!:: when now, I agonize { and admittedly over-analyze } over if I should pick up dinner, or cook in.  I remember the drive from Dickinson, my hometown, to Denver like it was yesterday.  I had my mom with me, and I was absolutely elated that we had room to fit both of my plants into the car when NOONE believed I could.  It's amazing to me that was my biggest worry then.  So, 10 hours later, we get to Denver.  Mom flies out the following week...aaaaaaand there I was.  My aunt would leave for work every morning, so it was just me and her 8 month old golden retriever for 9 hours a day.  We walked.  We talked { judge me for holding conversations with a dog and see what happens }.  I looked for jobs online and would have interviews weekly.  Some productive, other destructive.  Ultimately, and thankfully, I ended up getting a job with the same company, and at the same office that my aunt worked.

I couldn't have seen it then, but I can see it clear as day now....I had NO idea what I was getting into at the time.  "Graphic Designer?  Productive Department?  Sureeeeeeeee....I can do that!"  There was a few months of growing pains to understand my position, and truthfully I still feel those growing pains 5 years later...and though my experience with the company has been far from perfection, it has been productive and truthfully that's all that matters.  I won't dig too deep into the growth I've gained from my job right now, rather save that for a later post.

After 6mo of living with my aunt, I jumped out on my own moving in with a high school girlfriend smack dab downtown Denver.  Looking back on those months I can't help but laugh.  I thought I had all figured out.  I really thought I had the world at my fingertips.  And you know what?  Maybe I did.  But looking back now I see a lot of mistakes and poor judgement.  Though, I also see a lot of laughs, trips, memories and life-long friendships made, and if you ask me the latter of those two really is the most important.  Reflecting on all the different moves, friendships and relationships I've had in Colorado produces the perfect love child of dizziness and happiness for me.  My minutes, days, months and years spent living in Colorado is utterly priceless.

::small collection of my most favorite CO memories::
I vividly remember on that trip to Colorado back in February of 2007, driving to meet the gay group at Benny's { such a foreshadowing of my future life it's not even funny! }.  I remember sitting in the back of Jen's car, driving in the snow/rain down a 1-way street and seeing this ultra chic woman walking down the sidewalk, up the stairs and into her brick apartment building.  Though I can't fathom thinking like this now, I remember thinking "I want to be her.  I want that life."  I longed for that independent lifestyle, living in a historic apartment building, living alone while being surrounded by only people and things I choose.  And you know what?  It wasn't until I was running through the rain and up the stairs to my last apartment on the corner of that very same 1-way street did I remember that memory.  And I remembered it fondly.  In a way it solidified what I had come to Denver to do.  What I had set out to do, which was find myself.

I've lived Colorado, I've breathed Colorado and I've loved Colorado.  And now it's time for me to leave Colorado.

This post is lengthy, per usual - but there was zero way for me to talk about this experience in one or two simple sentences.  We all know that I've lost my job, and we all know that I've fallen head over heels in love.  So what does one do unemployed and in love?  You move.  Doy.    Our plans are a little hazy right now, and will solidify more as the weeks pass and we have a better idea of when exactly I'll be done with work.  Don't hold me to this, but the plan as of now is once I'm done with work, and Hunter is done with his current contract at work we will pack up and help his family out at the ski area for a few months. { his family manages a ski area in southern Wyoming, and we are elated to get to live there for a few months and offer our help and assistance while getting to hang out with his fam dam! }  There are some plans in store for the ski area, but yet again, that I'll save for another day.  After we have our bearings, the plan move and explore around the US for a while!  Hunter is a traveling nurse, which essentially means we pick the state and find a job that is available in his field IN that state, then move to whichever city has the opening.  We have a few cities/states picked out but it really depends on which month we decide to take off.

I'm sure it sounds crazy now, but I do remember driving into Denver, and actually remember exactly where I was when I had the thought of "Five years.  I bet I will be in Denver for five years."  It wasn't a goal, it wasn't a "In 4.5 years I need to start packing my life up to gear up for my next move!", it really was more just a feeling.  I would think of that feeling every now and again...mostly when I would pack up and move from apartment to apartment.  Some moments when I felt I was really close to moving I would laugh and think "Pschhh 5 years?!  Hardly!  What did I know??" and other moments when I felt 100% fulfilled and content in Denver I would think "Pschhh 5 years?!  ONLY 5 years?  What did I know??"  Who knew then, as a little 21 year old moving to big bad Denver, that my feeling would be spot on.


  1. I remember meeting you 5 years ago in my 'optical illusion outfit'... striped pants and poka-dot shirt. I remember thinking instantly we were going to be friends and for the past 5 years we have been just that. I cannot say I am not going to miss seeing your beautiful face 5-6 times a week because that would be a lie. However, I am filled to the brim with excitement and joy at the next chapter you are creating for yourself. LYLAS!

    1. James; your words made me cry! And I could never, and will never forget your optical illusion outfit. I adore that we both remember the first day we met so vividly. I talk to Hunter a lot about the transition of leaving friends, and finding our new normal between those friends. You and Ryan are always at the top of the list whenever that conversation comes up. I can't wait to find our new normal, and I can't wait to watch our friendship grow over the miles! LYLAS!!!!