Tonight while I was out enjoying some incredibly talented local musicians, I became acquainted with a family of British tourists. They are going to be making their way over to Seattle from here, so I gave them some travel tips for the journey. When I handed them my business card, which has my Montana Shan web address on the back, I realized that it had been about three months since I have blogged. I’m sure you all thought I had packed it up and moved back to Seattle by now.
Nope. I’m still here. Honestly, I can’t give a good excuse for the hiatus from writing. Maybe I felt like the Montana Magic was wearing off. I did feel the pressure of my first Montana anniversary coming up and was disappointed about some things that haven’t quite worked out as I had dreamed. Now that a year has passed, I’m over it. I’m still trying new things, and I still love the beauty of the Flathead Valley.
Making a living has been a challenge. At the end of February, I took a part-time job waiting tables. That’s what all artists do, right? I thought it would be perfect since I would be working nights and have days free to enjoy outdoor activities and work on writing and editing projects.
After about three months, I realized that restaurant work didn’t suit me. Working evenings was also killing my social life. On many Saturdays, I was too exhausted from work to get up and enjoy activities with friends like bike rides. Then, one night at work, I had an “I’m too old for this shit” moment and decided to look for a different job.
I’ve been working a nine-to-five job for more than a month now. I have to admit, I appreciate the predictability of the schedule, and it’s the kind of job that I can just leave every day. It’s not like teaching where I took stacks paperwork home, often accompanied by a load of stress. My evenings are free, I get all of the holidays, and I never have to work weekends. Not so bad. In true Montana form, my coworkers have been friendly and welcoming. They’ve all been showing me the ropes, and there is a strong sense of teamwork.
The ironic thing is that I was contracted to edit a novel just after I began working full-time. Talk about timing! It was the end of June; the 4th of July was just around the corner, followed by a visit from one of my sons. Somehow, I managed to squeeze in the editing work and reached my July 21st deadline. Now I feel like I have an abundance of free time.
It hasn’t been all work, though. I have been enjoying some mountain biking and hiking with friends. I experienced my first substantial day hike in Glacier National Park (11 miles), which included a grizzly sighting. The visit with my son was too short, but at least we had one full day of exploration together, and we got out to a couple of my favorite haunts. I continue to enjoy another summer of live outdoor music, usually three or four nights a week.
My first Montana anniversary passed a couple of weeks ago. I’m grateful for the numerous new experiences of the past year and the many friendships that have enriched my life. They have been even better than I could have imagined. Last year, I arrived with an open mind, ready for a new life and a lower stress level. As I sit and reflect tonight, I realize that I have found the most important things that I was seeking.