Six Years Later…

It’s been awhile since we last spoke, but I think we can skip the awkward small talk.

My life has gone in a vastly different direction than I assumed it would back in 2011. Looking back at this post, I can’t help but laugh– I was so naive. I was so convinced back then that biochemistry was the major for me. After nearly failing my first chemistry exam, I soon realized that I didn’t love chemistry as much as I thought I did. College in itself was a different experience than I assumed it would be back then. I thought that MSU would finally present an opportunity to explore the topics I loved, with challenges that went beyond boring busywork. College, I thought, would finally eliminate the things I loathed about academics from past experiences.

College turned out to be a completely different beast than I anticipated.

Writing the first draft of this post lead to the most depressing catalog of events that happened since 2011. I don’t want to sugarcoat the past and pretend everything has gone according to plan (because it really didn’t), but the last six-years haven’t been entirely terrible either. Great things happened. Awful things happened. Life happened! Focusing too much on either the highlights or the pitfalls would be disingenuous.

Distilling the past six years of life into a single post is nearly impossible though. To keep things brief, I’ll hit some of the important details here:

  • I’m currently living in Bozeman. I work for Gibson Acoustic. (If you would have told me six years ago that I would be making guitars, I wouldn’t have believed you.)
  • I’m dating my best friend, Kelci. (Another thing I probably wouldn’t have seen coming back in 2011.)
  • I totaled the old Focus back in 2013 (RIP in pieces). 2013 was a shitty year (for numerous reasons that I might dive into in a later post).
  • I have not graduated from MSU (yet). Changing majors multiple times, taking time off to avoid student loan debt, and other reasons have led to this delay. It’s something that really bugs me, but I do plan to finish my degree soon.
  • I finally got a motorcycle last year. Motorcycling has become one of my favorite hobbies. The mental clarity and presence you get on a bike is difficult to find anywhere else.
  • I’m an uncle! My nephew, David, is four-years old. He’s the best. (I don’t feel old enough to be an uncle, but it’s a pretty cool experience.)

Many other things happened since 2011, but I’ll leave some of those details for later posts. For now, I’m happy to be back with you all. This reunion of the twentyeleven crew was a total surprise. I want to thank Kelci for making this happen, as well as all of you who’ve come back and written a post on here. You guys rock.

I’ll write on here again soon. Until next time,


P.S. For a delightfully incomplete record of some of the things that happened since the twentyeleven project ended, you can check out my personal blog, The Final Summer.


And Now…..

It is me, once again. I missed this.

I was going to write a bunch this last month, but I wanted to have something interesting to write about. Now I feel that I do.

I just got back from the first paid vacation I’ve ever taken, which coincidentally was also the longest time I’ve ever been away from home, (aside from taking care of my mom in Seattle while she was dying-not-dying from cancer, which really should not be counted as vacation.) I left Friday, September 8th and drove to Bozeman, spent 10 nights and 9 wonderful days with some of my favorite human beings on this earth, and woke up at the butt crack of dawn this morning (the 18th) to pack up and drive back to Billings for work. Ever since I started visiting Bozeman on weekends roughly 5 years ago, I’ve found it increasingly more difficult to leave each time I go. It doesn’t have as much to do with the company I keep there, so much as it is just the feeling. There’s no gross refineries, you’re completely surrounded by mountains and mountain air, it’s a nicer feeling town, it’s smaller; (granted more densely populated during the school year, which does not bother me at all) and don’t get me wrong…. I do quite enjoy the people I go to see when I’m in Bozeman, but I would still be excited to go every time, even if I didn’t know a soul. There’s a feeling of elation that washes over me as soon as I enter the Bozeman Pass, and it passes just as quickly when I leave. I think it could maybe be the anticipation of what I always know will be a fun-filled and happy weekend, whether it entails drinking games and going out and laughing til I cry, or just vegging out and binge-watching whatever series we’re into at the time and lobbing creative insults at each other. I’ll let him fill you in on our week together.

Will and I have been dating for nearly two months now, and absolutely everything about it just feels right. Every single tacky love song I hear walking around the grocery store or in a restaurant makes me restlessly giddy. I can’t shut up about him. He’s my very best friend, and I still cannot believe we are together. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it. I never would have thought this could happen. Ask me one, three, six, eight years ago if I thought I’d end up with him, the answer was no way, he’s just my best friend. And each time I’ve said that, that’s what I’ve meant. Back in high school when there was a sliver of a chance of us dating, that was all I wanted. As soon as I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I decided I’d kill him if we ever dated, and we should just be friends. We’ve always had a very comfortable line of communication; we have always been able to say anything to the other knowing there’s zero judgement. My family loves him, my friends love him, everyone’s reaction to the big news has just been “Oh, Finally! I was wondering when you two would do that.” I cannot imagine my life without him. He is as constant as oxygen and water. Getting to kiss him and all that gushy shit is just cherries on top. Anyway, enough about the stupid boyfriend stuff. Back to ME.

I currently live downtown with a close friend from high school/college. This is the first time I’ve ever lived with someone who isn’t a parent or a boyfriend. It is the best thing for me right now. We have so much fun together, we cook and clean together, we go out with our respective groups of friends, and we’re both the kind of person that isn’t afraid to say “Hey, maybe clean up your shit?”. Our apartment is a perfectly mixed combination of our two styles. It’s comforting to feel at home for the first time in a very, very long time. I’m not tiptoeing around trying to stay out of anyone’s way, this is our spaceour beer fridge, our collection of nail polish on the coffee table carefully obscuring the cover of ESPN magazine’s Body Edition.

This lease will not last forever, in fact it will be up next May, which is far too soon for me to be ready for the next step. The next step is finally, FINALLY moving to Bozeman, which is something I should have done upon graduating high school. As Frank Sinatra says, That’s Life. It struck me last month that I should probably just go to school and do something with my life, lest I let my brain atrophy while handing out 20s to angry retirees. I like my job, and there’s nothing too much wrong with it, aside from the mind-numbing boredom/stress that comes along with doing the same 14 things on auto-pilot all day, with a couple minutes’ worth of crippling panic when/if something goes wrong. I’ve decided I am interested in pursuing a career in Plant Biology, a PhD if I make it that far. I can’t really describe in words why it’s so important to me, but anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been obsessed with anything that grows in the ground. I want to do that for a living. I want to be in a field that I actually really care about. I hope that if I can’t do anything super important with it, I’ll at least be satisfied with myself for not wasting my chance and not trying.

Let’s see, what else? I started running more (again), I only got sunburned twice this summer, I am working on writing/refining a stand-up set that I’m hoping I’ll have the guts to perform in front of strangers only by perhaps this spring, I am teaching myself to establish savings, I am teaching myself to be a more organized and neat person, I am teaching myself to recognize distress and confront it before it manifests in more toxic ways, I am back to reading at least two-three books a month, I am teaching myself to approach cooking as a creative process instead of a mathematical formula, I am attempting to learn Italian (again), and I am telling people who I love that I love them whenever I can.

Maybe one of these posts I’ll get around to talking about the last six years of my life. Maybe I never will. Stay Tuned, Y’all.

Love, Kelci

Hello, It’s We. (get it, because most of our titles were disgusting puns.) AKA [[>>REBOOTING<<<]] AKA Kelci learned how to type!

In 2010, a man most of us know and even more of us love decided to collect some friends and force us to write about the proverbial “Senior Year” of high school through the lens of many. There was the perspective of actual Seniors yet to graduate, a Junior (me) yet to enter senior year, and several College Freshmen having just finished their Senior Year. That man is an incredible human being, and this is an attempt to give something back.

Hi, Guys. It’s been a very, very long time. Although in the grand scheme I suppose it’s been less than a blink, we have lived, we have accomplished much, and most (if not all) of us are a completely different person than the last time we shared with each other in this format. We have loved and lost, we have moved, we have learned lessons we will carry (and ideally, pass on) for the entire rest of our lives. My hope for this blog is that we all write as many posts as we individually care to write concerning what we’ve been up to since the adjourning of The Twentyeleven Project™ and whatever else strikes our fancies, I guess. I don’t know Will’s reasons for choosing us all to contribute to 20eleven, but as I found myself in the middle of a very rough day a couple weeks ago, I turned to the words we all wrote nearly a decade ago (sorry, the fact that we all age equally is still blowing my mind) for comfort. It helped bring me from a point of near-tears to literal elation and sarcasm, my Final Form. If you haven’t been back since the last time you wrote something on there, please take a brief intermission and do so now. I believe you can click on the name at the top of each post to filter by author. It all began here.

Are you back? Did you do the thing? Do you feel what I felt?? That ineffable longing for “The Good ol’ Days”? You know, like when you go through a particularly nasty breakup and re-watch your favorite childhood movie for the nth time, or when you hear a song that you love but haven’t heard in years? Or was that your personal hell, you’re far, far happier now, and like I have always presumed, I peaked in high school? Either way, is it safe to assume that we all had no idea what kind of shit-flavored Green Bean Casserole adulthood would come to serve us? I think so. I don’t mean to suggest that life now sucks more than it ever has by any means, but it certainly seems that proportionally, problems now are much more of a well, problem than they were before. Then by contrast, our personal achievements, those little moments where you feel invincible, those (to me) feel so much stronger now than they would have in the days of yore. Everything I experience today has much more weight than it did yesterday, whether good or bad, and I genuinely hope that means tomorrow will have more gravity than today did, and if you *gag* look back at some of my posts, I obviously was trapped in a glass case of emotion. I still am.

A few of the posts that stood out to me aside from all of them; (because it seems every time I’ve read back over the years, I always do so with a really dumb shit-eating grin) were these. (In no particular order whatsoever.)

Also, Spencer, I hope you don’t feel left out, dear. I really could not narrow your posts down to a favorite. You’re too wonderful.

I am bringing this new-yet-familiar blog about as a surprise to Will (aka Opie, aka boss-man, aka many many more) for his 24th birthday. I have never been able to celebrate his birthday with him properly, and he deserves something fantastic. I cannot stress enough that this is a surprise, so please don’t mention anything just yet. He’s always been a phenomenal writer, (maybe I’m just biased because he’s my bestest friend) and he seems to be stuck museless as of late, and it is wearing on him. I want to remind him a little bit of a time in all of our lives when hashing shit out in blog format was incredibly constructive both for all of us but more importantly, people who related to us. The authors will consist of myself, himself, Spencer, Joshua, Molly, and the remaining original authors (if I can get a hold of them), as well as a few additional literary wizards that I hold very dear to my heart, in the interest of perhaps getting this one off the ground where we never really quite could with the previous attempt. If you know a guy, say something and that can and should definitely happen. I don’t know how long this will go, but you all agreeing to contributing a few posts is more than enough for me. I plan to be posting semi-regularly, as I find myself at a point in my life where literally everything is changing. (More on that later.) Your frequency and commitment are entirely up to you alone. No Pressure, Dawg.

If you need ideas for what you might talk about, I thought this might serve as a “Where Are They Now” edition of 20E. Our currently imaginary and quite possibly extinct readership might be interested in how our lives are different from where we left off. This could cover any number of subjects including College Degrees, (or not) jobs held or dropped, new and interesting geographical locations, hobbies new or old, whether our music taste is exactly the same, important life events, I could go on but you are all intelligent humans, so I will neglect to do so….

As the 4:00 hour draws ever closer and my caffeine stores fart out the last remaining molecules of the black-as-night coffee I chug all morning and for 2 hours after lunch, I think I will leave off here. Write whatever you want, as much as you want, as often as you want. There are no rules. Other than obviously, be yourself. (WordPress does not have Emojis, and i’m real upset about it.) Enjoy, kids. and Welcome Back.

Love, Kelci