What it’s really like moving to a small mountain town

In the one month I’ve lived in Leadville, Colorado I’ve changed a lot – and for the better. I keep wanting to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. How did I manage to end up this lucky? For one, I’m surrounded by beauty. I get to take daily walks with my dog in the woods, I regularly drive through gorgeous mountain ranges, I get to mountain bike through enormous Aspen groves right down the street from my house. On weekends, my partner and I explore Colorado. There’s so much to see, it feels endless.

Leadville is a high elevation town in Colorado with 2,700 people. The people here in have a different way of life from what I’m used to. They just live. It’s not about hustling – it’s about being outside. Luckily, all the outdoor adventure you need is nearby. In the winters, they snowshoe, backcountry ski and snowmobile. In the summers, they run, mountain bike, raft, climb, you name it. I made a new friend the other day and she casually asked if I wanted to sign up for a 20k race the next day (I said no – I need about 10 weeks to prepare for that!)

I deeply appreciate my neighbors. They live a simple, beautiful way of life. Whenever I look out my window, I see someone walking, running or biking. The houses are old and fences are deteriorating – but that’s what makes it so great. No one is here to show off or look fancy or compete. There’s this sense that everyone shares a common love for the mountains. It feels real. It feels like home.

When I was living the hustle lifestyle, grinding from sun up to sun down, sitting in traffic or sitting inside and then spending the weekends being social – I was stressed, understandably. I knew I was stressed but I didn’t know there was any other option. My back hurt, my neck hurt. If you know me, you know I’ve dealt with chronic back and neck pain for awhile.

Well, something amazing has happened this past month. My pain has been virtually non-existent and I know it’s because I’ve slowed down. I’m healing. I will continue on my healing journey for the rest of my life – it will never be over. But this seems like a pivotal time. I’m learning to prioritize time in nature, time by myself, and time to do absolutely nothing. We have to slow down to heal. For some, just knowing that the pain is a direct result of stress is a major stepping stone towards healing.

What’s amazing is that I’m 27 and I feel like I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Part of this is because I made the conscious decision to take social media apps off my phone. Many of us feel incomplete when scrolling on social media because we compare so much, but I’m choosing not to live a life of wanting or comparing anymore. I’m choosing gratitude and abundance.

When I was 12 I thought “making it” meant you had a fancy house, fancy car, 3 kids and a millionaire husband. That’s embarrassing to write. But what I’m realizing is that living my dream life is a choice I get to make every day. I get to have it all right now because having it all is a mindset. I get to make the decision to live fully in each moment. I get to sit here in the middle of the day and write this for someone to read. Amazing! My quiet life in an old mining town might not look ideal to many people – but to me it’s everything.

Sophie Marie is a movement coach and lover of all things wellness. Practice yoga and workout with her on YouTube. See her other virtual offerings on her website.