Bozeman is SO crowded. Bozeman is SO expensive. Bozeman sucks compared to what it used to be. Blah, blah, blah. We've heard it all as of late. I get it.

It seems that if Bozeman residents (old and new) didn't have something to bitch about, their day might not be complete. Changes, development, construction, traffic and price increases are JUST WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LIVE SOMEPLACE GREAT.

Ok, enough of that. But I ask, have we forgotten some of the basic reasons why this place we call home is genuinely so great? In my humble opinion, it's not just the pretty mountains and fluffy sunsets.

Much of what I have always appreciated about Bozeman is the peace of mind that it gives me. Expensive as hell? Yes. But these other things always made it worth it...TO ME.

1. There Are Jobs Available

Some jobs were not my dream job or a direct on-ramp to my career, but there have ALWAYS been jobs available.

I've bused tables, been an office gopher, a delivery driver and a barista. When I first moved here, I even loaded bales of hay. (I have never worked that hard since...Bless you, farmers and ranchers.)

For 7 solid years I held down 2 jobs. This town is pricey, and it's just what we have to do sometimes. Working your ass off keeps you out of trouble and makes you street smart.

My point is, jobs are available and they have been for several decades. Business owners big and small STRUGGLE to fill positions. Yes, we might have to work more hours to pay the bills but the AVAILABILITY is there.

2. Montana State University

I cannot stress enough how important Montana State is to this community. Aside from the obvious traditional education and employment, it is the backbone of our town.

This would be a much less desirable place to live, without Montana State.

Museum of the Rockies. Montana PBS. Shakespeare in the Parks. Free educational workshops at the MSU library. Incredible free information resources from the MSU Extension Office. KGLT. Fantastic sports fields. Ever heard of the MSU Fire Service Training School?

The list of how many benefits Montana State University offers this town is extremely long.

3. People Here are Generous With Their Time AND Whatever Money They've Got

We've got a lot of healthy non-profits in this area. The most broke people I know here have always been volunteers which I think is the most respectable thing someone can do. Giving your time to something you believe in. Delivering meals. Walking dogs. Reading to kids. Mentoring. Whatever.

As for money? I've got four words: Give Big Gallatin Valley. This county raised over $700,000 in 24 hours. That's insane. Some people gave $10 to their favorite cause. Others gave $1,000. But we did that TOGETHER. Simply amazing.