Sinking into the weathered blue fabric couch on our front porch, I’m pleasantly surprised to see the sky showing less than black color. To the left, parcels between the leaves glow faint lavender. Now I hear the creek right next to the porch. It’s funny how we only hear what’s around us when we listen.
It’s been a neurotic 2-1/2 months here in Boulder. Trying to relax is stressful. Now two cotton candy stripes trisect the blueing sky. Perhaps this is what happens when a water person goes to live in the mountains. Being near the swishing creek has kept my soul from jumping out of my chest.
Lots of forced deep breathing. Averaging $40 a shift at my button-down and neck-tie serving job doesn’t helped. It’s a situation that kept promising results, but never delivered. I refrained from changing jobs because I felt I’d be leaving soon. The sprinklers just cut on. My water is probably boiling, too.
As the coffee grounds steep in the French press, I take in the thick vanilla notes and experiment with exposure settings on my DSLR.
Even though I’ve traveled away from a natural state of happiness, I’ve still traveled, which I think is always a good thing. You can always go back.
I’ve had some great times here. I finally got to know my grandma. She surprised me with her frankness and optimistic outlook on life. I would like her even if she wasn’t directly responsible for my existence. It gives me a deepening sense of gratitude to have spent a good amount of quality time with her and her boyfriend, Rolland.
I gained some knowledge: the major grape varietals of Bordeaux wine, the difference between Israeli and Moroccan couscous, depth-of-field control on my Nikon, and the basics of crack climbing. I also learned concepts: caring too much at a job can ruin it, (from climbing) how to take slow deliberate steps, and the importance of having a social life. Along with the last note, letting the house stay a mess to maintain a relaxed vibe proved more important than keeping it clean and tense. Gotta go with the flow to enjoy your environment.
I never felt calm. Being in the center of the country, Boulder reeks of the American dream. That’s kind of why I’m leaving. The standards of food/drink service are so high in Boulder that it’s difficult to make good money as a server for the first three months, and even then, the effort is disproportional to the reward. I’ve confirmed this with a dozen people in various restaurants. It’s a scholarly hub based on the university. I would need to change careers or stay for a long time to live the way I wish.
Living in a tent for a couple of months to save money on rent was an idea I researched. This is illegal and difficult to achieve without an automobile. All signs are pointing East. Like Bruce Lee said: Be like water.
I spoke with my brother several times over the last year about preparing the boat. My mother’s birthday is coming up which will bring me through Savannah for the first time in 2 years. I can also with a job I enjoy and allows me to save for a big trip.
That’s why I’m heading back to Key West for now. I love Boulder. I really do. It’s an amazing phenomenon in human living. The people are genuinely friendly, the food is superb, you can experience exotic flowers, raccoons and squirrels that aren’t afraid of people, and daily mountain views. Beauty skin deep exists here as rule rather than exception on a level that I’ve only seen in Stockholm, but combines with the chill mindset of San Francisco, intellect of Seattle, and the artistic freedom of New York.
There is as peaceful wonder that sets in when you first step foot in this town and continues to surprise you 14 years later (say the locals). It’s just not my last stop. Returning is rooted in the back of my mind.
My roommates and friends don’t all like my decision. I feel this tension when I leave somewhere, but each new place proves that it was worth it. Just like when I left Nashville and Tacoma before that.
I am proud of the fact that I enjoyed my time here. We don’t get to do all the things we want to do in life, but if we can enjoy the days we have and smile at the sadness of them ending, I think it’s a life worth living.