This post is big, but that reflects the fullness of my summer in Missoula. The week by week since my last post:
Ren and Jesse left for a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park and I hosted a nasty sinus infection while they were gone. Fortunately, I was still well enough to have the pleasure of hosting the incredible Strangled Darlings for a few shows in Missoula.
I was prime for adventure when Ren and Jesse got back from Glacier. A last minute invitation to my new friend Simon (and Brian, and Jenna) made for a seriously fun party in Lost Horse Canyon. I love rock climbing.
After our Lost Horse extravaganza, I headed back to work, Simon headed to Washington, and Ren and Jesse started the long drive east to North Dakota on the next leg of their adventure. August 10th is an important day, and I had an important place to be.
Dustin and I have a rule to see each other once a year, and he turned 35 last Saturday. I left after work on Friday, got to Portland at 1am, spent all day working on The Commons, and all night playing cello. We worked as late as I dared on Sunday, and I faced the reality our visit was to be painfully short. I made it back to Missoula around 130am on Monday morning and went to work at 7. I wouldn’t have spent my weekend any other way.
Mercifully, I wasn’t on the jobsite so much this week and recovered pretty well. Since breaking up with Sarah in June, I’ve been going to a weekly meeting with the ManKind Project. If you want to change things in your life, you have to actually do something about it. We’ve all got shit to work on in our lives, and MKP provides some structure to put my butt in gear about it. I left Missoula on Friday morning to participate in an MKP weekend seminar in Idaho, but as I was pulling through Challis, ID I got a phone call saying the seminar was cancelled due to wildfires around the location. I was thoroughly disappointed, but headed back to Missoula and quickly made plans to salvage the weekend.
One of the best parts of climbing is the community this arcane little sport tends to promote. This weekend was the first annual Blackleaf Canyon gathering, and by 10pm Friday night, I had a ride over with one of my most important mentors. Simply put, Blackleaf is unreal. I’m not really a great limestone climber, but damn I had fun getting on some big walls with great people.
Did I mention I love rock climbing? My foot has mostly recovered from surgery, but the limestone didn’t treat it well and I still need to be careful with myself. Today is a rest day, and I’m enjoying working back through all the photos.
Is all this driving sustainable? Probably not. Is my life “balanced”? Who knows. Am I making enough money in Missoula to be financially responsible? I don’t want to think about it any more. I am doing enough for the people I care about most? That’s a question worth answering. A few weeks ago my friend Nate moved away from Missoula. Before he left I asked him “Nate, what do you think I should do more of?” He said- “Skander, that’s the wrong question- you need to think about what you want to do less of?” I’ve not done a good job of doing less these last few weeks, but he was absolutely right. I’m not sure I have many answers yet, but I’ve enjoyed a few pieces to help get me pointed in the right direction:
The Medium Chill (by David Roberts, thanks Soren)
George Saunders says love. (thanks Facebook, I think…)
No regrets? (found this a while ago and started thinking about it again)
The newest addition to my blogroll- becoming minimalist. (thanks Karen)
Even when summer is so full and so busy, there are so many important things and people and places in the world. Celebrate them. I think that’s really what this summer is all about- It’s fast and full, and I’ll be grateful when it slows down. That said, there is still a lot of summer left and I’m looking forward to even more fun in the next few weeks.
This is one of the best things I’ve read on the internet in a long time. I’m scared of what I see in political discourse in our country, in conversations I hear on the street, and where I hear people cite information from. I’m all for people having different ideas, different feelings, different priorities, and different motivations. Fine- but every day I see and hear a deepening chasm of hate and ignorance that frankly scares the shit out of me.
Recently, I was asked what I felt it meant to be “progressive,” a word I am not afraid to use to describe myself. To me, being progressive is being humble, willing, and interested in taking a look in the mirror at yourself and learning from what you see. It is virtually synonymous with being accountable. I answered honestly, and realized after the fact that my answer has nothing to do with supporting traditionally liberal values- I’m sure there are folks who espouse traditionally conservative values that would aspire to that same reasoning.
That said, I think it does have something to do with basic human decency, responsibility to our whole communities (including the natural resources that sustain us, the diversity of our citizens, and the many resources that we indirectly benefit from), and a commitment to thinking carefully. We need this, we need it now- how can you help? How can I help (feel free to post ideas to comments)?
After an unexpected full week in Montana, I drove back to Portland today. The time in Missoula was just what I was looking for, and it’s exciting to say: I’ve found housing and a new community that seems to welcome me with open arms. This time, the trip to Portland isn’t returning to home, but rather to bring my sense of home to Missoula. Yep, that’s right, I’m moving- now that I’ve published it on the blog, I’m committed.
When I decided to come back from South America, I knew I wanted to be in a smaller community. I want to know my neighbors, live close to the outdoors, and try something different. I don’t have a job lined up there, and I only have a few months of savings left, but somehow this simply feels like the right thing to do.
More than just my belongings, I look forward to bringing many important lessons with me from Portland to Missoula.
- Be discerning about the people you spend your time with- your friends an excellent mirror for your character and direction in life.
- In business, accountability is all that really matters. Accountability=integrity=success.
- Live your life on your terms and no one else’s- you are an adult, and you get to make the call on what that looks like.
- Success is looking back with no regrets, and knowing the next thing you do will be the best thing yet.
I arrived tonight feeling very under the weather, so this post is shorter than I’d like. Suffice to say it felt hard and scary to think of moving my stuff out of here, of leaving regular contact with so many wonderful friends behind. This next step feels like the greatest adventure yet, and that doesn’t come without some discomfort. I’ll look forward to seeing many people in my next few visits (I’m making two trips PDX<–>MSO), please be in touch if you are here in PDX. A few photos from the week: