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Talking Around Town with Tyler Ryan

Wednesday, 30 August 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Talking Around Town with Tyler Ryan
Talking Around Town with Tyler Ryan

I’m not really good at saying goodbye.

But as some of you may know, this will be the last regular column I write for Shootin’ the Breeze.

If you’re reading this on Wednesday, I am probably at work tying up loose ends and preparing for my departure.

If it’s after 5:30 p.m., I will be passing through Brocket on my way home to Calgary.

If it’s after Wednesday, who knows what I’ll be up to. I haven’t planned that far ahead.

Over my final week here, it has dawned on me that I have a lot of “lasts” and unknowns on the horizon.

Obviously this is the last time you may read my writing for a while. I may put something together for Christmas, but I’ll primarily be focusing on school and any stories that I file will be with a news organization called the Calgary Journal.

Come Sept. 7, I will be an editor for the first time and I don’t really know what to expect.

Speaking of school, this will be my last year at Mount Royal University and in May I’ll have my bachelor’s degree that I’ve worked hard for.

I don’t know what to expect immediately after I graduate, except that I will be working and possibly travelling. Or maybe vice versa.

I hope to be in law school in the fall of 2018 but that requires me to write an LSAT that I’m not entirely ready for.

In preparation for the third most important test of my entire life — just behind my driver’s test that I passed when I was 16 and the personal tests of willpower as I try to lose weight  — I will be a familiar face in the the newly constructed library at Mount Royal.

This will also be the last week before I turn 23.  

In my very first column with Shootin’ the Breeze, I shared some worries and irrational fears that sat in my mind as I drove to Pincher Creek.

What am I getting myself into?

What if the people in Pincher Creek don’t like me?

What if I write a story that is so incredibly bad that the town turns on me?

The second and third questions are easy to answer.

Even though I didn’t live in town for long, just about every single person I met was incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Sure, there were a few gruff folks, but that’s normal. As a whole, this has been a pretty swell place to live.

I also didn’t have a mob armed with torches and pitchforks turn up on my doorstep, so I think I did a pretty good job.

However, it’s a bit harder to answer the first question.

A literal answer would be that I got my first taste of real-world journalism through the lens of a small town.

But from a personal standpoint, the question “What am I getting myself into?” has a lot of implications.

Living with a roommate was totally new. As was learning how to cook and becoming totally self-reliant.

I’m not going to lie, there were plenty of lonely evenings and homesick feelings.

But moping didn’t help and I tried to stay busy. “Yes” was my answer to a lot of things that I wouldn’t have done back home, and that helped me get a well-rounded experience.

And now that I’ve gotten used to living here, I know there will be a lot of things I’ll miss.

Every morning I would drive along Broadview Street for the view of the mountains. Back home, the mountains are a tiny blip on the horizon, but out here they dominate the landscape and I enjoyed the scenery while heading to work.

Most people don’t drive like fools in town and there are no monstrous highways or infuriating bumper-to-bumper traffic to worry about. In the city, the opposite is true.

But I think the thing I’ll miss the most is what I would call “friendly tranquility.”

In the concrete jungle, it seems that everybody is flying through life at a million miles a minute.

Back home I can walk down any busy street and see a thousand unknown faces.

Heads down, earbuds in, eyes glazed over.

A hundred places to be and even more to see.

Welcome to life in the city.

By the end of my internship, I felt like I could walk into almost any event or store, or even drive down Main Street, and recognize somebody.

And I know that will be one of the biggest things I’ll miss. But to share a quote from my all-time favourite novel, Let the Great World Spin, written by Colum McCann:

“The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.”

So is this goodbye?

Well, I don’t like the idea of goodbyes and I’m sure that our paths will cross again in some capacity.

So with that in mind, I’ll see you around.

To the Shootin’ the Breeze family, thank you for letting some random 20-something be part of the magic.

To the folks of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, and all of the communities in the area, thanks for letting a city slicker tell you the news.

And to the people who have been following my weekly column, thanks for sticking by. I hope it was as interesting for you to read as it was enjoyable for me to put together.

Finally, a shameless self plug. If you’re interested in seeing what’s going on as I continue my journey, go ahead and follow me on Twitter or Instagram. My handle on both is @Tylerjvr.

Cheers, and thanks for all the stories.

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From the August 30, 2017 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze.
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In Pincher Creek, call Jessica Jensen at 403-904-2227
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