10 Years Later

It’s hard to believe that this blog is over ten years old. Back in 2010, I started this blog with the assumption that it would only be active for that Summer. It was supposed to capture the experiences and emotions of my last Summer break as a high school student. I recognized back then that I was about to enter a new phase in life, and I wanted to record what that felt like. Since then, I’ve been drawn back to this blog almost every Summer.

I’m not sure why I keep coming back here. Perhaps it’s because this is the largest collected body of writing I’ve ever produced (that’s visible to the public, anyway). I think part of the reason why I come back to this blog is a desire to recapture the excitement of that first year. I made a commitment to post here every day, and I stuck to it (for the most part). It was entirely self-motivated, with no reward other than the personal satisfaction of completing a writing project that I chose.

Reflecting back on the last decade of my life, things have gone far differently than I expected they would. At the beginning of the Summer of 2010, I had planned to go to the University of Montana to study Journalism. I went on a road trip with my Dad later that Summer. During the trip, we stopped in Missoula, and checked out the town and college campus a bit. Over the course of the trip, my Dad encouraged me to consider a different career path. Journalism is not the most lucrative career path, after all. I took his advice to heart, and decided that I would study Biochemistry at Montana State. This was the first in a series of college major changes I would make over the next few years (switching from Biochem to English Education, then back to Biochem, then back to English).

College itself was a far different experience than I anticipated. I wrote about this a few years ago, but didn’t go into depth about why college failed to live up to my expectations. Looking back, I think I made a lot of assumptions about how things would fall into place once I got to college. I would finally be a motivated student once I had full control over my studies. I would finally have an interesting and exciting life once I lived on my own. I would finally escape from Billings. Life would just be better once I got to college.

Fast forward to today: I dropped out of MSU at the end of 2016, after a few failed attempts to go to school full-time while working full-time.

Not completing my bachelor’s degree feels like a personal failure. It’s something I still want to achieve (if for nothing else than a generational goal; nobody in my immediate family currently has a bachelor’s degree). Despite not achieving that goal, I’ve managed to get several great jobs, and I’ve explored many different career paths. I’ve made peace with the fact that we all experience life in different ways. I did not earn a degree at the traditional stage in life that most of my peers did; that does not mean that earning a degree later has less value (or is less of an achievement).

I am still living in Bozeman. I have lived in Bozeman full-time since the Fall of 2012. I love this town. There are so many beautiful places to explore within a short distance. Bozeman has grown considerably since I first moved here; it seems like a new business is popping up every week. I have enjoyed my time here, but I do not consider it to be my Ithaca. I want to explore new places. It was never my goal to live here forever (or even this long). I worry that the longer I continue to stay here, the harder it will be to leave.

Kelci and I are still together (we are coming up on our three-year anniversary next month). We both work together, and we’ve been working from home since mid-March. It’s been great to spend every day with my best friend. I feel blessed to be with someone so kind, funny, and beautiful. She makes my life so much better, in every sense of the word. I am so lucky to have a partner like her as we go through this insane journey of life. I can’t think of anyone else I would rather have by my side.

As for work, I am currently working in IT. I started this job last November, and it has been the best job I have ever had. The company I work for has been incredibly cooperative and understanding throughout the Covid-19 situation. My colleagues are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I’ve never experienced this level of career growth in such a short period of time at any other job. I feel like I’ve finally found my niche.

The last decade has gone differently than I expected, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. This is my path, for better or worse.

Let’s see how this Summer goes. Until next time,
-Will

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