For me, the last six months have shown me the myriad forms my anxiety can take. Some of it has to do with my family in Kansas City; I worry about them constantly, but it does no one any good. Most of it came from the realization that we had to get out of our house and get rid of all our stuff.

Now that we’re settled in Missoula and looking for a place in Seattle, my anxiety has shifted. Now I’m worried about what I should be doing. Trouble is, I don’t really know. I wanted to travel to 12 cities just to go. I wanted to see new things, meet new people, and learn the feel of other places in the United States. I lived in Denver for 24 years and in Kansas City for 18-plus years; I hadn’t been to Europe for more than 12 years. I wanted the thrill that comes from someplace new.

Now that I’m someplace new, I worry that I won’t learn it well enough in the three weeks I have left. I worry that I won’t be able to come to any conclusions at all.

Perhaps it would help if I would stop comparing it to the place I just left. Of course, there are lots of similarities between Boulder and Missoula: both are college towns; both are considered to be eccentric/green/hippie; both lie close to mountains; both are growing fast.

I think I’m getting the feel of Missoula. I’ve noticed a few people I would call “Missoula characters”: they look a little more western, a little more “free-range” than Boulder characters. And none of them look as well-heeled as people in Boulder.

I’m looking forward to exploring the cultural scene. There are several art museums to visit, and this weekend we’re going to a powwow. I’ve been to the Denver March Powwow but not to one on a reservation (Flathead, north of Missoula).

I’ve already found a bakery that makes delectable cupcakes and one decent coffee shop. There are so many coffee shops in Missoula, I don’t know if I’ll be able to visit all the ones that have seats. For some reason, there are a lot of drive-through coffee places.

My solution to all this worry? Other than writing frequent entries in my “worry journal” and then deleting them as soon as I complete them, my main solution is to walk. I’ve discovered that the neighborhood in which we live is unlike any other neighborhood I’ve known. It’s not really suburban or urban in the sense I know, but it is a mixed-use neighborhood. There is a dentist a block away and a LASIK place near that. I can walk two blocks to order coffee at a drive through, or three blocks to a casino. When we walked over to Higgins yesterday evening, I saw a day laborer’s agency next to a church at the end of a block of houses. Clearly this neighborhood is not zoned for just one use.

Starting this weekend, I’ll be taking some pictures to show you what I’m talking about.


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