Moving and Bear Mountain, Boulder, CO

We’ve all but completed the move-in process in Boulder, Colorado. It’s been a lot of work — more work than moving to college, back before I had a bank account, or a car, or life insurance, and health insurance, food, and furniture came with the package. Even moving to New Haven was a piece of cake, as everything I owned fit in one car, and the drive was 2.5 hours from Boston.

Life as a grown-up is certainly more complicated, but the trajectory of life getting richer and more interesting seems to far outpace the annoying aspects. Increased responsibility seems, at the moment, like a very small price to pay for the freedom, and knowledge of self, and dare I say wisdom, that comes with being in one’s thirties.

I have done so many new things in the few months. With biking, solo hiking, cooking, teaching myself web programming, and planning cross-country exploration, the world seems so much larger. It occurs to me that there is space and time in this one life I have for me to do things that I’m passionate about. I don’t have to wait until I’ve “earned” it, which given my stupidly exacting standards, would probably never happen. Doing things I am passionate about on a daily basis has made me more in tune with the fact that I have passions and aspirations at all, and makes them seem within reach.

These are the states I have now visited, so far. Lots of major gaps to be taken care of, clearly!

I think that the more often you dive in and do what your gut tells you is the right thing to do, the more you realize that this could be a way of life. In grad school, I had no idea how far away I was from doing what I wanted to do, and being myself. I blamed the complete misery on my own weakness, when in fact, I had spent the past five years doing almost nothing just for fun, nothing to feed my soul. Except running. I used that as a crutch, and it did indeed save me, again and again — as did having a partner. But I’ve learned that I need more than a couple of things to keep me happy and grounded.

I guess the end of the year has me in a reflective mood. But I am also blown away by the changes that have occurred only in the past ten days, since we signed our lease in Boulder. I can’t decide whether I’m more excited by the fact that I can see an 8461′ mountain right outside my window, or the fact that there is a 24/7 grocery store literally across the street. Having subsisted on road food, and all that can be freeze-dried, microwaved, or eaten raw, for about four months (minus time spent eating food so generously provided by our parents and friends), I am so excited to be cooking again!

Some really fantastic banana bread I baked, after doing a lot of research on high-altitude baking. It is taking large amounts of will power not to just eat slice after slice of this for breakfast lunch and dinner. It's that good!

It’s hard to express the joy I derive from putting together a meal of my own creation. The experience was rather infrequent in New Haven. I went through phases where cooking was fun. Then I’d go for months eating nothing but Subway and salads and burritos. This is perhaps the lamest excuse ever, but the grocery store was a good 35 minute walk (round-trip), so I’d end up going to a closer mini-market, which did stock fresh fruits and vegetables, but only the very basics. It wasn’t exciting or inspiring. My brain did not spin with possibilities. (Yes, I have major first world problems!) If I wasn’t in the mood for a basic vegetable soup, or an omelette then I generally opted for the salad bar. But somehow, something has shifted. And it could be the novelty and wonderfulness of being in Boulder (HAVE I MENTIONED I LIVE IN BOULDER NOW), but I hope it sticks, and is not a phase. It probably will stick, if only because I can no longer digest Subway sandwiches, and there isn’t one nearby anyway 🙂

But the real reason we moved here was for the mountains. And they have not disappointed. I’ve only gone on three hikes (Green Mtn once, Bear Mtn twice), partly because I’m still at the point where summiting those peaks is a major effort. My best round-trip time for Bear is 3 hours and 46 minutes. I’d really like to make the trip daily, since I think it would be a fantastic exercise staple, but I’m going to need to get that time down to something more reasonable. Being in better shape, and biking to the trailhead would save at least 40 minutes. Eliminating all that darn snow and ice could chop off 20 minutes further. So in optimal conditions I’m thinking 2:45 is a good goal. That would still mean getting up at 5:00 so I can start my day at nine. Yes, I am feeling ambitious!

Speaking of ambition, I hope to restart blogging regularly. I had to reevaluate my priorities a bit, with Road Trip 2011 being officially over, and since blogging does take a finite amount of time. I’ve concluded that blogging is worth the time, not just for the entertainment of the five people who read this blog, but because it seems to provide that extra motivation to continue to fill my life with adventures. Documenting things isn’t about broadcasting my life (I am generally not a spotlight-seeker) or about trying to create a coherent story of my life (although that would be nice). It’s more about the creative process, and the fact that writing and organizing my thoughts has the effect of reminding me to Live in a thoughtful and deliberate way, rather than just wandering aimlessly. So, that’s all for now!

I’ll leave you with a sampling of photos I took on my 31st birthday, when I decided to do a super-early morning hike up Bear mountain. It was a truly epic adventure.

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