You might have heard the news, Kat and I made some major changes to our lives this year. I had worked at the same place for thirty-four years. Mostly good years, almost all good people. A few assholes, but to be expected.
Living where we were in New York was comfortable. The good and the not so good were known quantities. Surprises and challenges were becoming few. Everything was very…. Routine. At what point does routine become rut? When does the rut become so deep you can’t see over the top? When do the usual issues, the recurrent problems that have been hashed over and over, become comfortable simply because they are known. Better the problem I know than the challenge I don’t?
I told a friend last summer that we were moving west and building a house.
“Was the house done yet,” he asked?
“No, in fact, it hasn’t really been started yet. Its just a hole in the ground.”
“Really. Where are you going to live?”
“I don’t know, but we’ll work something out.”
“That’s too uncertain. We could never do that.”
I thought about that conversation as we drove cross country. Kansas, Wyoming all drifted past the truck windows. Were we crazy? Shit, I’m 62, shouldn’t things be more certain. More predictable? They could be. Just stay where you are, don’t change anything, suck up what you don’t like and don’t risk anything.
That didn’t seem like much fun. I wanted to “Go West,” be a pioneer, shake the tree and see what happens. I’m not dead yet.
It’s Christmas eve morning. Low clouds are drifting through the valley leaving a trace of snow in their wake. We are still sitting in camp chairs but those camp chairs are in a finished house. The furniture will be here in a few days. The wood I cut and split is burning in the stove, heating this new house on the hill. The hole in ground in August has morphed into a finished product. Outside my window deer are grazing, our presence and all the activity haven’t seemed to bother them. If you stand outside early in the morning you can hear the roosters crowing in the valley from our neighboring homes. You can hear the horses are talking to each other.
Quite a change for someone who commuted to the Bronx for thirty-four years.
Not everything went according to the original plan. It took longer, it cost more, I wondered sometime if it would ever happen. Maybe we shouldn’t have taken the chance, taken the risk. Was the smart move to go to North Carolina or Florida and live in a condo complex with other retirees and waited for Happy Hour to be happy?
I asked our new neighbors, pictured below, they said welcome to the neighborhood.
No risk, no reward.
Merry Christmas from Glacier Country!