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For the My Colorado essay collection, KUNC and Colorado Edition want to create a space to hear from each other and to share voices, thoughts and opinions on our Colorado experience. These short audio essays will focus on a specific topic. We welcome all Coloradans to submit their essays — whether you've lived here your whole life, or just moved to the state a week ago.

My Colorado: The Resilient Spirit Of The 'New West'

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A mural found in downtown Greeley, by artist Amanda Marie as part of her "Genuine Milk" series.

A strong foundation will ground you through crisis, change and fame. I believe Colorado is built of strong stuff and continually shows its true colors of love, responsibility, resiliency and creativity.

Over my 25 years in Colorado I’ve seen it grow, change and evolve. People moving here rapidly, every other friend is a real estate broker, cool eateries and breweries on every corner, unattainable housing prices, crowded national parks and deeper roots for the arts. These changes are encouraging, exciting and unsettling. Face it, Colorado, you’re famous… for your skiing, beer, sunshine, music, and more!

Sometimes referred to as the “New West,” I believe we embody that moniker.

We live in a place of new technologies, independence and a coveted high quality of life. New additions to Colorado bring new talents, visions and expectations to the mix. The Colorado of old is evolving, but our core tenants of western independence, an outdoor life, and a life of possibilities still remain.

True, it’s expensive to live here now, it’s more crowded and sometimes feels overwhelming, but we should see these as positive signs. People want a piece of this “Colorado life.”

New “settlers” are not a new phenomenon in the west and have always brought promises of a better richer life, the possibility of exploitation, and the disruption of old traditions. So now is the time to stay true to our good character.

We should embrace the possibilities of the “new” while honoring the wisdom of the “old”. Steward our way of life and learn from communities that have experienced this rise of popularity before us, while embracing the many opportunities it brings. For me, I am balancing my old Colorado while looking forward to more creativity, cultural diversity, healthier rates of pay, honoring the outdoors and a population who values its artists.

Our Colorado character is the key to optimizing these exciting and trying times of crisis, change, and fame.

Peggy Lyle lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she is a creative industries consultant. She has worked on numerous events projects in northern Colorado, such as the Fort Collins Book Festival, the Boulder International Film Festival, and Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest.

For the My Colorado essay collection, KUNC and Colorado Edition want to create a space to hear from each other and to share voices, thoughts and opinions on our Colorado experience. These short audio essays will focus on a specific topic. We welcome all Coloradans to submit their essays — whether you've lived here your whole life, or just moved to the state a week ago.

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