My 10th Year In Colorado

I moved to Colorado in August of 2008 – see succinct blog post from August 19th, 2008.

I can’t believe I’ve been here 10 years. Even still, I’m uncovering new gems in Colorado, in awe of these mountains, and sort of still feel like a newbie.

The quick story is I moved here the summer after graduating college. After a little bit of travel, it was time to get to it. I packed up my trusty Honda Accord and drove west, with my mom in tow. Everything I owned was in that Honda.

I had a feeling I really wanted to be in Boulder. It just felt right and I needed no other reason but that.I grew up camping, hiking, and snowboarding in Colorado as a kiddo, but not much time specifically in Boulder.

I didn’t matter that I didn’t have a job, any friends, or a place to live. Things fall into place, right?

I found a place on Craigslist, a furnished, shared house near Chatauqua, right at the base of the flatirons (best neighborhood but I had no idea). I had been prepping to find a job from afar at home in Iowa, but being 22, despite doing way SO many internships – hah – they all said, “Give me a shout when you’re out here.” So I bought a lot of coffee and pounded the pavement.

It was hard and a little isolating as I really didn’t know anyone here but it was a perfect adventure for a young woman to take and I’m so glad I took the leap and risk. Those kind of experiences give you gumption, guts, and drives bravery.

A professor of mine from college, introduced me to a previous colleague of hers in Boulder (still friends with him to this day), and he introduced me to the growing tech/startup scene in Boulder. I honestly had no idea and thought I was going to work in natural foods. I landed a job (they didn’t even remember my right name) the same day I walked in in an early-stage technology startup and here I am 10 years later. As an aside, I was really lucky to find a job a few months after searching, in the recession of 2008 and didn’t realize that until much later.

This blog was a huge part of my 20s. I don’t post on it much anymore, but haven’t had the heart to let it go either. I met so many people through it, my first job was in the publisher/blogging space, and it was such an important outlet for me. Now I chuckle at what I used to say and sound like.

Recently on a personal development course I took, they talked about ‘following the breadcrumbs’ of life. As Tama says, “You have to obey the inner signals, the nudges, the Morse code of the soul…Pay attention with your heart, not your mind. The mind wants to know where things will go. The mind doesn’t believe gargantuan things happen from sweet, tiny steps. But this is a path of intuition. It has different rules. There are no sizes. Or as A Course in Miracles says, “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.”  You’re either listening to a power that has no limits or you’re listening to a limited mind that has no power. One nuance leads to another. You wouldn’t understand the plan. The plan would seem unthinkable. I think we swallow small bits of light, so as to not overwhelm ourselves. A child grows inches in a year, not all at once, because there is mercy in the Universe.  The Love that calls you is nothing like the world you know. So don’t look for things that “make sense” in the world you know. Follow heat. Follow sparks. Follow curiosities.”

Looking back, I didn’t even realize that was what I was doing. I base, and still do, my decisions off of how I feel. My gut. I usually don’t know what’s next and I’ve surely make a lot of mistakes along the way but it’s lead me here. It’s also a reminder of how non-linear life and our understanding of it all is, as well.

I feel incredibly grateful to be in the Colorado sunshine, to enjoy the community I’ve cultivated here, to relish in the mountains, lakes, streams, and rivers, and to find myself in a happy, healthy life.

Back then, I lived in old apartments in downtown Boulder where I could skip to work in a few minutes and leisurely join happy hours and stumble home easily. The apartments were furnished with side-of-the-road finds and many girlfriends were amazing roomies. I had a way of convincing many friends to move to Boulder (many are still here). I had a few break-ups in my 20s and experienced my share of loss. I worked at two, really fulfilling, life-changing (for me personally) , technology startups in client-facing roles and eventually learned to manage teams and grow into who I am today professionally. I said yes to everything too. I was down to try anything and explore.

Today, I live outside of Boulder in Longmont, in a house my boyfriend and I own. It’s not all Craigslist furnished, and that Honda I owned I finally got rid of at age 30! Hah. I have a new car that I love. I still am immersed in technology, but work in the food and restaurant industry in innovation. You know what’s cool? My first boss when I was 22, is now my boss and colleague at my new job, 10 years later. Serendipitous.

I still explore and travel a lot, but I’ve slowed down. Life catches up with you and you aren’t quite as resilient in your 20s. I value my health, deep rest, taking care of myself, and I say no more than I have before, but in a positive way (can’t please ’em all).

But for now, today, I’ll pay a little tribute to 22-year-old Grace and remind myself to keep living a life of wonder and curiosity – especially as I did then.

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