Monthly Review | January

 
 Hiking the M trail near Bozeman. The views are amazing. You can see the whole city, the valley which contains it, and flat land beyond that. It's a quick 3 mile hike but you gain a lot of elevation so it's a workout.

Hiking the M trail near Bozeman. The views are amazing. You can see the whole city, the valley which contains it, and flat land beyond that. It's a quick 3 mile hike but you gain a lot of elevation so it's a workout.

This year I have decided to do monthly reviews where I talk about all the things I have done, learned, and hope to accomplish. I also will talk about my fears and things I still need to work on. It will definitely be random but hey so is every day of my life! My friend did a year in review and stayed positive despite her divorce so I want to keep the ending tone of these happy and uplifting! Even though 2018 is unclear for me, I have no idea what lies ahead, I truly believe this is going to be my year, one of the best, and I want to be better about documenting it. I love looking back at old blog posts and I wish I would have pushed myself to stress less, do more, and post about it! Since I use my DSLR photos for my blog posts and I hate repeats I will use phone photos for my reviews!

 The sun peaking through the trees while I was hiking the M trail in Bozeman.

The sun peaking through the trees while I was hiking the M trail in Bozeman.

 The back patio of Lockhorn cider, covered in snow but enjoyable as behind me there was a giant fire pit. My best friend's boyfriend had an art show there and we all attended.

The back patio of Lockhorn cider, covered in snow but enjoyable as behind me there was a giant fire pit. My best friend's boyfriend had an art show there and we all attended.

job

There haven't been any full time job opening here yet. The job market in Montana is not great because there aren't many places to work and most people don't leave once they have a job. But I am keeping an open mind and trying to enjoy not working. I have been working on myself and diving into my hobbies and honestly I have kept rather busy. I've been thinking a lot about the goal of my life, the purpose, and exactly how much or how I want to work.

 When I got home, my friend Patricia's husband reached out about a surprise party. We all showed up and enjoyed a few drinks at Plonk before the always late birthday girl arrived. I know most of these girls through the job I held during pharmacy school. It was a wonderful night and a great way to celebrate being home.

When I got home, my friend Patricia's husband reached out about a surprise party. We all showed up and enjoyed a few drinks at Plonk before the always late birthday girl arrived. I know most of these girls through the job I held during pharmacy school. It was a wonderful night and a great way to celebrate being home.

home

I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.
— John Steinbeck

Even Steinbeck knew what a gem Montana is. Having spent the past 3 years moving and traveling, not really knowing where to go or why, I have finally realized that Montana is my home. For the first time ever I honestly and wholeheartedly want to stay here in Bozeman. I've always been a runner, run from my problems, run from an ex, run for no other reason than to just have a new experience. Being back home, I am in love. I love this little town, love with the ski hill being 30 minutes away, epic hiking trails just as close, our cozy little downtown, the history and inspiration of this amazing state. I love my friends and being close to my family. I love my life and I am starting to feel happy and inspired again. I try not to worry too much about finding a job, getting health insurance and a 401k, but instead focusing on taking advantage of the time I have to be free because sooner than later (don't talk about 30 creeping up on me) I will have kids and am more grounded.

 Almost daily I walk my parent's dogs around the neighborhood... these are my walk views.

Almost daily I walk my parent's dogs around the neighborhood... these are my walk views.

 Another gorgeous photo of the sunset while hiking the M trail in Bozeman

Another gorgeous photo of the sunset while hiking the M trail in Bozeman

 blog

I am really proud of myself as I have posted 10 times this month. It takes hours to take photos, edit them, write a post, then share it on every social media platform. I challenged myself to shoot in RAW and use manual camera settings, and I think my photos have significantly improved. I have set up Amazon Affiliates (where I make money if you buy something off my site) and I have a made a little cash that way. I have also obtained 3-4 influencer jobs aka blog collaborations. I am happy with how my blog looks and the content I am sharing. Over the next year I want to challenge myself to post more creative and unique content - think outside of the box in terms of how I feature an area or a product. I want my photos to speak to you instead of being just a pretty photo. I have been stalking photographers and trying to learn from them, think about the things I like about their photos.

 When I got home, my best friend invited me to go to the boiling river with her and her boyfriend. I hadn't been in years. It was a great experience and the subject matter of my fist vlog. Shayna and I have been friends for 14 years.

When I got home, my best friend invited me to go to the boiling river with her and her boyfriend. I hadn't been in years. It was a great experience and the subject matter of my fist vlog. Shayna and I have been friends for 14 years.

experiences

I have pushed myself a lot this month. First I went to the Boiling River and made my FIRST VLOG! I hiked a bunch of times, here, here, and here, said yes to random events, made new friends, and even asked a boy out. I made myself do all of the things I didn't do when I grew up here. I have been cooking like crazy and healthy food too! I have lost weight and focused on my anti-aging skincare routine; all in all I am taking care of myself the way I always should have. I wish I could ski more but it's expensive; I want learn to fly fish but I need to figure out how and where to take lessons... maybe I'll wait for spring. I have been helping my parents around the house cleaning, cooking, and caring for the dogs. I already have three weekends fully booked in February; I am so excited! All I can hope for next month is to push myself more and continue to grow. I want to say yes to more things, even little things like going for a quick hike or road tripping for the day, and do things I never thought I could.

 A group photo of girls night at Corx in Bozeman. They were extremely accomidating of all of us and stayed open a litle late as we finished up.

A group photo of girls night at Corx in Bozeman. They were extremely accomidating of all of us and stayed open a litle late as we finished up.

 An example of the healthy food I have been making. This a rice spring roll, before I wrapped it, filled with veggies and chicken.

An example of the healthy food I have been making. This a rice spring roll, before I wrapped it, filled with veggies and chicken.

me

If I had to say anything about January I would say it was a good month for me emotionally. I wrote a bunch, here and here. I thought long and hard about my biggest issue here. I've looked inside of myself openly and honestly, and had quite a few epiphanies.

  1. You don't live to work. I love being a pharmacist, I couldn't find a better job for me; however, I hate my job when I am miserable outside of work. During residency I was working so much that I started to resent it. I would see my friends once a month or less and they finally stopped asking me to hang out. When I was in Reno, I was trying to connect with people but I never really felt connected - that being said I have friends for life in CW, LV, SS, AM & CM - okay 5 friends isn't bad. But all of them understood the things that were happening to me and all of them understood my need to leave. Past aside I have started hanging out with my friends here, a few times a week, and I finally feel like I can be myself. People in Montana really are just different than anywhere else... I call up someone and tell them about my doubts and insecurities and instead of using it against me (PW, LD, KM, SS) they support and encourage me. I am surrounded by people who honestly care about my well-being.
  2. This is kind of a big one for me. I have people in my life that have their own issues. Growing up I always thought it was my job to help them. But after leaving and coming back I have finally realized that it is not my job to save anyone else and I do not have to feel guilty about it. I can assist as best as I can but the only life I can change is my own and I need to focus on myself and what is right for me.
  3. My life is outside and I cannot wait to explore more. I love being outside. And even more importantly I am working on finding hobbies for myself regardless of whether I have go alone or with friends. But I am trying to find people who are like minded and enjoy doing the same things as me, such as hiking! Today I went for a 3 mile hike with Sonia, who took the first photo (above) then came home and took the dogs for a walk. I find peace, solitude, hope, and inspiration when I am outside and I want to spend as much time exploring as I can. I plan to do a National Parks tour this year along with hitting up every neat place here in Montana.