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

Life Moves Fast…

My last post was on July 14th, and I had the audacity to end it with: “I’ll write another post soon. Stay tuned.

Obviously that didn’t happen. It’s been almost three weeks since that post, and a lot of things have changed since then.

The weekend after my last post (July 15-16) was mostly uneventful. I went for another hike with Alex, and Eli came along for once. We left later on Saturday evening, and ended up running down the hill in the dark. The path we were on was very steep, and the trail is significantly overgrown in many places. There are also lots of little holes, and the trail is mostly loose dirt and gravel. In other words, it’s a deathtrap. We made it down without anyone getting injured (shockingly), and then went downtown for some drinks with some new friends at 317.

The weekend following that (July 22-23) was very eventful, to say the least. Kelci and her roommate, Ashlee, came up from Billings to visit us. It had been a few years since Kelci last came up for a true weekend visit, and we were all excited to go downtown and have a good time. We ended up dressing up for a classy dinner at the Copper, then pre-gamed back at the apartment, and went back downtown afterwards. It was a crazy night, and we had so much fun.

Kelci and I ended up breaking off from the group for a second to catch some air (we had been dancing) out on the back patio of Bar IX. We locked eyes; there had been sparks flying between us for most of the night. We ended up kissing on the bridge under the fairy lights (it was a cliche scene out of a shitty John Green novel [in the best way]).

After that happened, we went back to the apartment for an afterparty. Everyone passed out at around 5 AM, then got up a few hours later to get brunch. It was a helluva weekend.

Here are some shots from that weekend (thanks to Ashlee & Eli for sharing these pics):

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After everything that happened that weekend (and the literal years of buildup), Kelci and I decided to date. It’s been amazing so far. I couldn’t be happier.

I fill you in on what happened last weekend tomorrow (pinky swear). Thanks for being patient with my inconsistent posts!

-Will

Post #100:

Before I dive into another “exciting” post about what’s happening in my life, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the very minute accomplishment of reaching 100-posts on this blog. It’s taken a few years to reach, but I’ve finally hit 100-posts on here. (Wow. That is a lot of time wasted WELL SPENT.) Thank you for reading this blog, and I hope you stick around for (hopefully!) the next 100 posts.

I’m beginning to fall back into the cycle of sleeping until the afternoon, wasting time until I have to go to work, working for a number of hours, and going to bed late.

It is an incredibly boring cycle to be in, folks. (I miss my friends; they gave me the motivation to get up and actually DO something.)

Fortunately, the day was not a total waste. I contacted the recruiter for the new job I’ll be starting next week, and I scheduled my pre-employment drug screening for tomorrow. (There’s nothing quite as fun as peeing in a cup at a clinic, guys.) I also got all of my tax-stuff for my job filled out, and I’m basically all set to start my new job. I just need to pick up a new pair of khakis and some dress shoes, and then I’ll be good to go.

I’m very excited to start this job simply because it will be something new and different. While I appreciate my other job (I’ll call it “Job #1” from now on, and I’ll refer to the new job as “Job #2” to prevent confusion), it is incredibly boring and somewhat frustrating. I’m hoping that this new job will bring an end to this boring cycle that I’ve been stuck in, and hopefully spark some motivation to do new things (like read, work out, and write regularly).

I’m also hoping that it will encourage me to begin organizing my life, and schedule everything out. One of the biggest difficulties I faced in school this year was a lack of organization, which caused me to start on assignments late, study for tests and quizzes at the last minute, and even miss a few online assignments. Juggling two jobs will require me to maintain some sort of organizational skills– I’m just hoping that they crossover to my academic life.

Anyway, I should probably be heading to bed (it is 4:30 in the morning; I should have been in bed hours ago). Stay tuned for another post in the near future!

– Will

P.S. By “near future” I mean sometime later this week. I’m trying to keep my writing goals modest as I come back to writing on this blog regularly, so I don’t want to make any promises about writing a post tomorrow. So while that does mean that a post could be on here tomorrow, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a post here tomorrow. I will definitely have at least ONE new post on here by Friday though, so tune in sometime between now and then if you want to stay current with the blog. Alternatively, you can subscribe/follow this blog (to subscribe to this blog, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your e-mail address in the form underneath the box that says “Subscribe”) to stay updated on when new posts are posted onto this blog. (I really hope this didn’t confuse you, but if it did, please let me know in the comments section below, and I will answer any questions you have. Thanks!)

Lazy Days, Restless Nights

Visiting Billings is weird for a number of reasons, but the one that always sticks out is how much hasn’t changed since I left here two years ago.

New buildings have been built in places that were empty fields a few years ago, new people hang out in the places that I used to haunt in high school, and few of my friends still live here. But virtually everything else has stayed the same, and that is what shocks me the most.

It’s like walking into the past, but the things you cared about the most in the past have changed; the only thing that stayed the same was the scenery.

I miss being able to call my friends up and meet them somewhere, and then just go out and do something– you know, the kinds of things that are easy when you live in the same town.

That doesn’t happen anymore, unless we’re all in town for a holiday or some other rare event, and it sucks.

Today was a day that brought that knowledge back to the front of my mind as I spent most of the day bored at my parents’ house. I did some chores to help out, I ran an errand for my dad, and I watched some cable TV (a luxury I don’t have back at my apartment). And while that wasn’t the worst way to spend a day, it definitely wasn’t the best way.

Tonight should be different though, as I’ve made plans to spend time with the few friends that still live here. Hopefully we’ll tear up the town like we used to back in the day.

I’m bringing my camera out with me, so maybe I’ll post some shots of what happened later. Stay tuned.

– Will

P.S. For those of you who also use Tumblr, you can check out my other blog, the wco show, here. (Feel free to follow me on there too, if you like! I’ll probably follow back.)

P.S.S. For the people who just recently started following my blog on here, thank you! Once I figure out how the following feature works on WordPress, I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Motivation to Keep Moving Forward

Yes, I missed another day. No, I don’t have a legitimate excuse for missing a day.

Instead, I’ll fill you in on what happened.

I had an eight-hour shift at work as a cart-pusher, and it was exactly as exciting as you can imagine it would be…

If you have a poor imagination, you could recreate the experience by pacing back and forth in a confined area, carrying a rock from one end to the other, over and over again, for eight-hours (oh, and you get two fifteen-minute breaks, and a lunch break).

After work, I drove an hour-and-a-half to come home for a few days. Now, I’m in Billings, spending time with my family.

The point I was trying to get to at the beginning of this post was how incredibly motivating it was to spend an eight-hour shift pushing carts… I’ll get back to that now.

As I pushed shopping carts back and forth, I couldn’t help but to think about how incredibly menial the task was. I kept thinking about how I could have been spending my time doing something so much more productive, and interesting, and just better than pushing carts.

I scored in the top 10% of the nation on my ACT’s. Why the hell am I pushing carts?!?

It bugged me. It made me frustrated. It made the shift drag on for a small eternity.

….

I can’t wait to go back to school.

 

The Lonely, Bored, and Restless Summer

Today was an especially depressing day.

I awoke late in the day, due in part to an evening spent drinking rum and playing video games (it was Thirsty Thursday, after all). After realizing that I woke up late, my motivation to do anything fun, or creative, or exciting quickly waned, and I lost my drive to go out and do just about anything. I probably wouldn’t have even left the apartment today if my hunger didn’t stir me to pick up some fast food for dinner.

Yes, I do realize that is kind of pathetic. All I can say is that I’m in a bit of a rut.

Being in Bozeman when school is not in session is a different experience. Some things are good: the weather is amazing, the trees are finally looking alive again, and I can work as much as I want without worrying about falling behind in school. Other things, however, are quite bad: Hyalite is closed until next week, most of the people my age went home for the summer, and I don’t have a lot of friends staying in Bozeman for the summer.

Also, I have a fairly large amount of free time (which is nice), but I don’t have much motivation to do anything fun with it (which is not nice).

There are plenty of things that I know I could be doing with this time; I know I could be reading a few books that I’ve been meaning to devour, for instance. I could also be writing more, or at least coming up with some ideas for an extended piece of writing (ex. a novella, or a full-fledged novel). I could be working out. I could be going out for photo shoots.

I know that I could be doing all of those things– I just don’t feel like it.

I don’t know why that I feel this way, either. It’s like some sort of weird funk has descended upon my usually happy and upbeat personality, and I don’t know how to get away from it. I can still force myself to do the things I enjoy, but it definitely feels forced, and I don’t enjoy those activities as much as I used to.

I was hoping that being away from school, and out in the sunshine would help me to break through this, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much.

On the bright side, there’s plenty of summer left to get out of this weird funk. Hopefully, I’ll be over it soon.

Until next time,

– Will

Work, Sleep, Repeat.

One day into my daily blogging venture, and I already missed a day. Whoops.

I would feel more disappointed about missing a day/post if yesterday was more exciting. I spent the first half of the day watching movies and sleeping (my sleep schedule has been really messed up lately), and I spent the second half at work. Fortunately, I have two-days off (today and tomorrow), so there should be plenty of time to do some fun stuff (as well as catch up on all of my “adult” responsibilities– like cleaning my apartment).

I’m debating whether or not I want to spend the early hours of today taking care of all of my responsibilities, OR just going outside and enjoying the nice weather. I charged my camera battery yesterday, and it’s looking beautiful outside…

Maybe I should hop on my bike and head to Hyalite? (Or at least throw my bike in my car, drive to the trailhead, and then bike up the mountain.)

Hmm… decisions, decisions…

I’ll let you know what I did with the day later this evening.

Stay tuned,

– Will

It’s been awhile…

Hello Internet,

It’s been awhile since we last spoke here, and I’m sure you didn’t expect me to come back. And while I know that my last attempt at a reboot didn’t work out, I’m sure this one will.

A lot of things have changed since my last post. I moved out of my parents’ house, and I’m now living in Bozeman. This will be my first summer away from Billings since before we moved to Montana, and I’m not sure how it will turn out. I’m hoping for a fun-filled summer that recharges my enthusiasm, creativity, and thirst for knowledge; I’m also trying to keep my expectations of this summer realistic.

It’s a bit of a struggle.

In addition to moving to Bozeman, I started dating my girlfriend, Sara, in January. She will be living close by (our relationship thus far has been long-distance, as she goes to school in a town that’s nearly three-hours away), and I look forward to enjoying the summer with her.

The last major change in my life since we last spoke is a bit more difficult to talk about. Jon, my best friend since third grade, passed away in February due to complications with diabetes. His passing has left a very large hole in my life, and nearly three months later, it’s still difficult to believe that he’s really gone. Summer vacation was one of the few times during the year where I could hang out with Jon regularly, and it’s going to be especially weird to go through these next few months without him.

But life must go on, and I’ll do my best to remember the good times I shared with Jon during previous summers, rather than dwell on the fun times we’ve been untimely robbed of.

(Many other things have changed since my last post, but they either weren’t worth mentioning, or I plan to share them with you in a later post.)

I hope to reignite the original spark behind this blog during this go-round. I want to write at least one post daily for the entirety of the summer. I also want to keep the content fresh, exciting, and worth reading.

I also want to have a summer vacation worth writing about.

That’s it– that’s all that you need to know about the blog. Hopefully, I will see you again tomorrow (or sooner!).

Stay tuned,

– Will

summer reflections on life in general:

Life is complicated.

When I say that, I’m talking about life in general. As of right now, my life is fairly simple. I don’t have a job (yet! I am actively looking for summer work though, so if you know of some places that are hiring, let me know), so I have quite a bit of free time. I don’t really have any obligations for the next few months either… As far as the summer is concerned, life couldn’t be any less complicated.

As we “zoom out” a bit and take our focus away from just this summer, the scene gets increasingly more complicated. I’ll be headed back to college in late August– something that I’m reminded of almost daily by my parents, who are worried about my current “undecided” major status (something that only became a problem after last semester, when I began to realize that Biochem might not be right for me, and began to “explore my options”).

Just thinking about going back to school in the Fall raises my blood pressure… I have so many things to figure out before then. Do I want to continue majoring in Biochemistry? Should I make a decision now, or should I wait until I get back to campus so I can sit down and talk to the career services counselors?  What classes should I take next semester? Can I afford to stay in the dorms next year? Will I be able to juggle having a part-time job, a full course-load, and a social life?

These questions breed other, more concerning questions, like:

  • Do I really want to go back to school in the Fall?
  • Should I take a year off, move out, save up some money, and then go back to school when I can afford to pay for it all independently?
  • Should I join the military?

Its all very frustrating, and my parents are not helping by pressuring me to make quick decisions that will affect my entire life. I just want to smack my head against the wall, and have fifteen-minutes to think everything through. They don’t understand that I’m a very analytical person, and that I like to think everything through before I make a decision. They want answers. Results. Something solid.

What frustrates me is that they don’t understand that I want all of those things as well. I want to know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I want to know what I’m going to be studying for the next four-years. I want to have a job so I can pay for college. From my perspective, they don’t seem to understand that. It feels like they think I’m still a kid who doesn’t have the capacity to think ahead about how all of these decisions are going to affect me, and how hanging out in this “limbo”-zone of indecision isn’t good for anyone– especially me.

I GET ALL OF THAT.I UNDERSTAND. I AM NOT AN IDIOT.

When I think of next semester… I think of it as a fresh start. But the thing about fresh starts is that they are never truly “fresh”; all of the fuck ups you committed before still happened. They’re still on the record. You can’t deny their existence– your existence alone is evidence that you’ve fucked up before. The whole “learn from your mistakes”-thing that our teachers tried to drill into our skulls back in elementary school… I get that now.

It’s too bad it took over ten-years to sink in.

– Will

 

“Sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays!”

Today was weird. Really weird.

Imagine what it’s like to wake up to the sounds of hammering, saw-buzzing, and lumber being tossed around. If you can’t quite grasp how that would feel, let’s just say that it’s somewhat disconcerting. Additionally, I realized that I woke up a couple of hours later than I wanted. It wasn’t a very fun way to wake up.

Anyway, the reason for all of the loud construction noises is that the stairs in my house are being fixed. About a year ago, we had most of the flooring in our house switched from carpet to hardwood. After about a year and a half of issues with the flooring (including having to replace one entire set of wood flooring with a different type due to a factory issue), this might be the last time that the flooring will have to be worked on. I’m happy to see an end to this flooring nightmare, but I hate it when strange people are in the house. It makes doing everyday things an awkward affair, as you’re constantly aware of the fact that someone else is in the house, working, and that you might be interrupting their work every time you need to go up or down the stairs.

It’s just weird… I can’t wait for this guy to finish his work and get out of my life forever.

Anyway, so I got up, showered, and got dressed, trying to avoid having to talk to this guy as much as I could. It’s not like the guy is mean or anything– I just don’t want to have to explain why I’m waking up at 10 o’clock in the morning on a Monday. I then retreat to the confines of my bedroom and aimlessly surf the web until noon, when the guy working on the stairs leaves for lunch. I wait for him to leave, grab my backpack, and get the hell out of the house.

Soon after exiting the confines of the manor, I realize that I’m starving. I hadn’t eaten breakfast because I woke up so late, and I didn’t grab anything to eat on my way out. I stop and pick up lunch from a drive-thru, and then spend the next hour driving aimlessly around the entire city.

And I literally drove around theentire city– from the west end to downtown, from downtown  to the Heights, and then back to the west end. I wasn’t intentionally driving around aimlessly; I was trying to find a place to stop so I could finish eating my lunch. I ended up just finishing my lunch during the drive. After making it back to the west end, I stopped at a local cafe and started to get the few tasks I had for the day completed. I ordered a double-shot mocha frapé, set up my laptop, and scoured the local job listings. A lot of places in town are hiring, so finding a summer job shouldn’t be too difficult. However, I’m not certain what my availability will be like for the entire summer, so I can’t apply for anything right now. After bookmarking a few possible jobs, I quickly run through my usual internet haunts (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and G-mail), and then exit the cafe. A cheery group of baristas shout a chorus of thank yous as I walk out the door.

I then head to the grocery store to pick up some essentials that needed to be stocked up on at the house. Shopping alone at a large grocery store is an awkward affair, especially if you’re shopping on a Monday during the early afternoon. I felt like everyone was giving me awkward glances as I pushed the cart around the store (it doesn’t help that I look like I should still be in high school). Also, the store was filled with a ton of slow old people who kept getting in my way. This got incredibly annoying  quickly, so I ended up ditching the shopping cart in the main aisle a few times so I could weave through the mass of geriatrics without slowing down. After I finally got everything on my list, I pushed the damned cart to the nearest checkout, and then got the hell out of there.

Lesson of the day? The grocery store sucks. Don’t go there alone, and don’t go there during the middle of the day. You’ll regret it with every ounce of your being.

Today was pretty uneventful, but during my aimless drive around Billings, I found a number of good places to stop for a photo shoot. Who knows– maybe I’ll get a chance to go on a shoot tomorrow.

It’s late. I’ll see you tomorrow.

– Will