I have lived in Western Montana now for 5 glorious years. With each subsequent year I find myself more deeply rooted to my new home and more appreciative of the things that made me want to move here in the first place. My family and I are truly blessed to be able to call Western Montana home!
Before actually taking a job here and relocating, the appeal of Montana was chiefly a concept and a dream – Big Sky country, rugged mountains, prolific big game, soft winter powder, unexplored wilderness, and lots and lots of premier trout waters. Plenty to make me happy for a lifetime.
But by the time I was able to move here I had a 2-year-old child and a pregnant wife to think about. Family responsibility has a way of reprioritizing life. Before moving to Western Montana, rather than analyzing the depth of the powder, height of the mountains, or quality of the rivers, my primary questions shifted to, “what is the community like? How are the schools? What opportunities exist for my children? Will my wife be happy there?”
I always thought the things I would appreciate most about Western Montana would be the things that appealed to me about Montana in the first place – the rivers, mountains, etc. But after living here for 5 years, the most difficult things to leave behind are those on the second list – the community, the culture, the people.
In fact, the #1 reason why I and most others I know love life here is the people and the community. I appreciate living next to and around folks that cherish their lifestyle and the blessing of living here as much as I do. Most people I know that live here have chosen this area for many of the same reasons I have, and they appreciate living here as much as I do. This mutual appreciation means we are all friends, for we all share this commonality that brings us all together. And folks here are happy to contribute in their own ways to the quality of life here, whether it is through working hard in their own professions or being involved in community/civic organizations.
Reason #2 for loving life in Western Montana: I don’t have to run the Rat Race. I don’t have to work 70 hours a week to subsist in a tiny apartment. My wife isn’t forced to stress over working full-time while feeling guilty for neglecting the kids. Folks here don’t have the “Keeping up with the Joneses’” mentality. People here appreciate and respect a well-maintained horse pasture over a McMansion. I don’t have to worry about being judged based on what I choose to wear. My wife doesn’t feel pressure to buy expensive clothing and decorate lavishly. We simply live the life we choose, the way we choose it, and know we will be accepted. We don’t look down our noses on anyone, and we know that most folks return us the favor.
Important as community, culture, and friends are, Reason #3 for loving life here gets back to what drew us here in the first place. It is pretty glorious living 5 minutes away from an amazing trout-filled river. It is pretty amazing being able to work until 4 or 5pm and still have plenty of time to launch my fishing raft for an evening float, or going out in the morning to hunt whitetail or elk and being home in time to get to work by 9. And this still leaves the weekends! There are endless rivers to fish, mountains to explore, lakes to enjoy, and blue, blue sky that carries on forever. This truly is a majestic, magical land that has captured my soul in so many ways.
Working as a property manager has deepened my appreciation for this place and for others that live here even more. I love working with people that are relocating here and sharing my love for the area with them. It is great associating with people every day that enjoy living here as much as I do.