The past couple years have been transformative for me. A few years ago I was living a prewritten life on a path to success. I was studying Business Management at Montana State University. I got an internship and ran a painting business over the course of a semester and a summer. I got dressed up and went to all the job fairs to practice talking to recruiters even though it was too early in my schooling to apply for jobs. I did everything I needed to to get ahead. I really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I got from all of it. The problem was that when I looked into my future and saw what it looked like, I didn’t like it. This path fulfilled certain needs in my life like security, achievement, and being part of something bigger than myself. But the thought of staying on that prewritten path for the next 50 years was gut-wrenching. I couldn’t quite place my finger on why, but something about it just didn’t feel right.
I’m a pretty quiet person. I’m not exactly shy, but “broadening my horizons” and experiencing different ways of life is something I have to work at. I also respect the crap out of my family. I think the life my parents have built using the prewritten path mentioned above is honorable and a worthy goal for any young person. Put those two things together, and I was very convinced that the 9 to 5, mortgage and car payment life was for me and I had no interest in deviating from that for a long time.
And then I was introduced to the mountains. Everything changed.
It started with a little trad climb along the Madison River. I remember rappelling off that climb feeling the biggest natural high I’ve ever felt. Just, immediate addiction. From there the frenzy started. Climbing wasn’t and still isn’t as big a part of my life as I’d like it to be, but hiking and camping became an obsession. I started researching best practices, collecting gear, and getting out. My new passion was really a new way of thinking. My philosophies, goals, and behaviors changed completely. Minimalism started to interest me. I became spiritual in a totally different way. Travel became more of a necessity than a desire. I was less anxious about my future. For the first time, I felt like I was myself.
The mountains are correct. I have to live a life centered around the outdoors or I will not be existing in my truest form, and nobody likes an inauthentic person. It took a long time for me to give in to that notion, but there’s no way around it. A favorite professor of mine at MSU once told me to pay attention to what gives me energy, and pursue that relentlessly. I still have reservations about my future, but I’m working on accepting the chaos and embracing the unknown. I have some big goals and I hope to share my relentless pursuit of their achievement with you through this blog.