I've been thinking a lot about Boulder lately.
My year in Colorado was like a life hiatus, my sabbatical from a largely-undefined life arch. I stopped worrying about where I'd end up, and spent time being in the present.
As it so happens, Boulder was the perfect place to do that because despite being surrounded by legions of grad-school students paying higher-educational dues, the overwhelming vibe of Pearl Street is, "Who care's about tomorrow? Let's live today." (Unless, of course, tomorrow was going to be a powder day.)
Living in Boulder, my life consisted largely of coffee shop mochas, afternoon coca-colas, blogging, reading, movies, and music. It also consisted of learning to ski and to rock climb outside. It took my self-conscious East-Coast psyche a while - too long - to understand that nobody out west cared if you were an amazing skier or climber or anything-er. People just took you for who you were, no judgement; all encouragement.
I remember heading to A-Basin with my friend Wendy once. Wendy was the nicest, most unassuming person, and a lifetime skier - she could shred any run. And yet she ran the greens and the blues with me over and over and over again. I felt so self-conscious that she was sticking with me, taking wide, slow, scenery-catching turns. Once or twice, she'd say, "I'll meet you at the bottom," and she'd jet off on some double black diamond - like watching a bunny rabbit suddenly attack a pit bull. Then she'd be waiting for me at the lift, and we'd ride up the mountain again, and she'd give me some advice on my form like she was commenting on the weather.