This is the rebuttal to my last post. I’ve been in Missoula almost exactly 2 years now, and there is a lot to respect about that time.

I love living in a city that has local food and culture and unbelievable access to wilderness.

I love working for a small, well run company that lives it’s values. That gives back to the community, that provides unusually great benefits to employees, and does high quality work to really change our built environment.

I love that my life does not fit neatly into the consumerist corporate America that defines success by the size of my bank account.

I love working with my hands, connecting with other people that work with their hands, to make small but deep impacts in our local community.

I love the friends that I have made here and the fact that I can’t list them because there are simply too many.

Not admitting that I love this place seems like a rebuke to all of the above, and that’s just not going to fly. I could probably figure out how to live my values anywhere, but doing it here simply reflects their priority.

November 2, I took the train north from San Jose to spend a little time with Dustin. He remains one of the most important and incredible people in my life, and always reminds me how to get back in touch with the priorities that I sometimes lose sight of. We talked about living with a smaller footprint, embracing how little we really need, and chasing passions to the end of our wits. All things that I can see myself doing here.

If my priority were to make as much money as possible (or become as powerful as possible, because the ego is probably what’s really under the desire to have “impact”) I wouldn’t work for my boss or do what I do. I would have stayed in Portland, or moved someplace just as disconnect from wilderness. I’ve been there, done that, and moved forward with my life choosing otherwise. 

“A willow can grow and bend, lose leaves, grow them back, reach for the sun, change its appearance or its focus with the seasons. It can become scarred, burned or bent. But it’s still a willow, and still a tree. And at every step, it is beautiful.”

My life is it’s own definition. Like the willow, for whatever form it takes, I get to define who Skander is and what that means.

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