Five years ago, I took a leap scarier than jumping out of a plane. It was the last day I had a boss other than the one I married. I’m grateful for these years, particularly for the chance to:
- Be flexible with my time so my wife’s move 2-1/2 years ago to New York City for her work strengthened rather than strained our relationship.
- Live with my children as a better person than while I carried the stress of my corporate work years–and to be part of the lives of young adults and children we now consider to be bonus family members.
- Write five books, publish four of them and even start on a sixth.
- Volunteer with great groups like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, No Stigmas, 360 Youth Services and the University of Illinois Leadership Center.
- Hike to the top of Humphrey’s Peak in Arizona, Yosemite’s Half Dome and several sites along the Appalachian Trail, along with into the Grand Canyon.
- Travel with my family, Mom, in-laws and brothers, developing deeper connections on each trip.
- Be present for extended family, and for people who gave me the opportunity to help them through tough challenges in their lives.
- Speak and teach, as a university guest lecturer, as a mental health advocate and as a judge for literary contests.
It hasn’t all been rosy. I’ve made mistakes along the way. I’ve struggled at times to find energy and motivation. I’m not in as good of shape as I thought I would achieve, though I’m far better off than when I started. Financial results from my endeavors are what I expected. Unfortunately, I had very low expectations.
To everyone who has been part of my life these last five years, thank you. To my former colleagues at Nalco, Quaker Oats, with Congressman Terry Bruce and at The Daily Illini, I miss my interactions with you even though I can’t say I miss the corporate world in particular.
I look forward continuing my efforts to make the world just a little bit better while enjoying its beauty along the way. And I promise myself I’ll spend just a little more time blogging as well.