Sometimes it’s easy to say, “It’s just too hard. It’s too much. It may not work out.” It’s easy to remain complacent and do nothing. And trust me when I say all of these things whirled in my mind nonstop as the opportunity to move to Montana presented itself. I knew change would be tremendously hard for our kids and it would be difficult to say goodbye to friends, but I also knew fear of the unknown had to take a back seat on this one. I knew there was a less complicated, more peaceful life waiting for me, for us. There was no question we had to take the leap. We moved to Montana for a better life. There you go. I’ve been asked a lot of questions about motivations for this move and I really think it ends there—a better life.
In Seattle I was driving three to five hours a day, five days a week, mostly in the rain. That was soul crushing. I will never do it again (unless God forbid I actually have to). And I will encourage my children to never get themselves into a similar routine. I was waiting—it seemed endless—for one red light after another.
The decision to make a change was collective, but since my mood really does dictate the “feels” in our home, moving was a good idea. Our two teenage daughters did have a voice in the decision, and in the end, it was unanimous: Montana or bust.
Since the day I had my first baby, I’ve seen the truth in old sayings like: “Once you have children, your heart will circle outside your body forever.” And. “You are only as happy as your least happy child.” Two sets of teenage emotions (not to mention the four-year olds struggles) have been the biggest challenge for me. It has not been easy, and I know there are growing pains ahead. But I know in my gut, and more importantly in my heart, this is best.
I first visited Montana twenty years ago with my family. The Madison Valley enchanted me from the start. I know a lot of people share my enthusiasm about this state, as it’s almost impossible not to. When my husband and I were married on the banks of the Madison River five years ago, I had a feeling we would be back, and here we are.
My drives to the girl’s schools are less than three minutes. My drive to the grocery store is eight. The airport is twenty-two (and never traffic…ever). You get the point. The sun shines over 300 days a year. I think I got that right and if not, just let me have it for now. The people are so friendly—I mean like, they’re really open to being your friend. Everyone takes time for you. Most everyone I’ve met is healthy and knows the importance of movement and taking care of themselves. I am finally where I WANT to be, not where I HAVE to be. This is a common theme here. When you ask, “What brought you here?” Most people answer, “A better way of life.” Not a job, nothing obligatory.
Fashion in Montana is a perfect marriage of style and utility, like a wide brimmed hat. There is a far more pragmatic approach, which has been a great reminder that practical doesn’t necessarily mean boring or unattractive. At the end of the day, style is comfort and knowing yourself. For now, I will be holding on to my best stilettos (the comfortable ones) for trips to the city, but day to day, I am best suited in vintage jeans, flip flops, or boots. And hooray for HATS! I’ve always loved hats, especially those with a western flare and my collection is growing. I feel like I’m home again.
And home it is. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it seemed like too much at times? Yes. Is it going to work out? Yes. I don’t think there is any way to say this, other than, “Nothing good comes easy.” So, let’s keep fighting for what we believe in, what’s best for us and those we love. Make the tough decisions. Move through the fire. A creative and gratifying life awaits.
As Norman Maclean wrote, and I encourage you all to make this quote your own … “all good things … come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”