When I moved to Crested Butte, I had three goals: find a sense of place, write, and take care of myself financially.
I first said them out loud them in Kochevar’s, a dive bar at the top of Elk Avenue, during my first visit to CB (here’s to the rare mountain man who stood opposite me and listened like he was interested–then suggested a book about sense of place). I had a PBR in my hand, and it wasn’t my first one of the night. My beer goggles were on, and I thought those goals sounded pretty damn good.
I just had no idea what they meant.
Moving to a small mountain town, I suspected it would mean working odd jobs (all of which would probably require scrubbing toilets) and hiking a lot. Maybe I’d learn to ski.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everything I do now defied my expectations then: I write for a newspaper when the collective wisdom says newspapers are dying. I love the freedom of riding my mountain bike down single track, when I used to think mountain biking was one of the more asinine ways to spend time. And climbing? Please–that was a death wish, for sure. But they all make me happy, and they all meet my original goals.
I try to remember that now, when I feel the urge to accomplish more, faster. It hits every six months or so, leads me to believe that I should sit down and make a to-do list that includes things like “Pitch six magazines a week.” Or “Write 45 minutes every morning.”
That’s what I did last January. I wrote out a list of everything I wanted to be true at the end of the year, and then I created an “action plan.” (Still working out a little bit of that corporate flare left in my system). And for about three weeks, I felt really energized. Then I got overwhelmed. Slacked off. Felt guilty. Didn’t get anything done.
So I’m not going to do it this time. I’m going to embrace a more laissez fare approach: do what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it, and say yes when opportunity comes along. See what happens. It feels sacrilegious, somehow, in our go-getter American Culture. But I’m going to do it anyway.