I’m not sure what happened. I didn’t see it coming. But somehow, when I wasn’t looking, I turned 63-years-old. Trust me, no one was more surprised about that fact than me.
This past year may have been one of the craziest of my life. So much went on. Some good, some not so good.
In February, I attended my first NASCAR race. I’ve been to dozens, maybe hundreds, of sports car races, but until February, I had never gone to a NASCAR stockcar race. My friend, Linda Luciani, invited me to go with her to the Daytona 500. Other than breaking one of my teeth, we really enjoyed ourselves. The racing was exciting, the crowd was crazy, and the company was great. Thanks, Luch!
In April, my brother and his husband moved from California and lived with me while they looked for jobs and a place to live. It was great having them with me. We had a lot of fun, laughed a lot, and I ate better than I had in a long time, with Tut doing the majority of the cooking.
In June, I had surgery on my right shoulder, which I injured in 1987 or 1988. It had gotten bad enough to where I couldn’t sleep. My labrum and rotator cuff both needed to be repaired, then for the next five months, I went through physical therapy. Sadly, my right shoulder hasn’t recovered as well as my left shoulder did when I had the same surgery in 2015. I still have some work to do.
In July, I defended my thesis and earned a master’s degree in political science that I started in 1984. (I wrote about it here.) I went back to Macomb, IL, to Western Illinois University, where I started the master’s degree program 38 years ago. The old town didn’t look quite as promising to my 62-year-old eyes as it did when I was 23 or 24. Even so, it was good to be back on campus.
In August, I bought an office building in Wisconsin. It has taken some time to get it ready to occupy, but we’re finally ready to move in. In fact, we’re moving in today (12/9/22). I’ve owned a business for nearly 23 years, but this will be the first time I’ve owned the building where my business is housed. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited to make the move.
In September, I started thinking seriously about moving back to Wisconsin. I was living in Florida, and I often missed Wisconsin, especially in the summer and fall. I missed the change of seasons. I missed the trees and the hiking. And I missed being close to my office. After giving it some thought, I decided I would move back to Wisconsin in the spring or summer of 2023.
In October, I brushed aside the decision to wait to move until 2023, and bought a new home in Wisconsin’s driftless region, about twenty minutes from my office. I couldn’t pass up the property, which included 26 acres and a log home. It was exactly what I was looking for.
I was excited about buying a new home, but my excitement was cut short when, just a few days later, one of my employees had a heart attack and died. She was only 49 years old with no known health issues. It was an absolute shock.
In November, I sold the house in Florida that I had just built in 2021, and which I loved. It was a wonderful home and there was part of me that hated to leave it. Yet, I felt a strong pull back to Wisconsin. On November 28, I closed on the property on Carter Mountain (it’s not a mountain) in tiny Readstown, WI. I’ve only been here a little over a week, but I already feel completely at home. Mojo and I love hiking through the woods and just tromping around the property. Living here is a dream come true.
If you’ve followed me on Facebook for any time at all, you know of my love for log cabins. Over the years, I have posted a lot of pictures of cabins. At one point a few years ago, my friend, Brett Morley, asked, “Why don’t you just buy one?” I finally have, Brett. I only wish you were here to see it.
As I mentioned earlier, today, we move into our new office. It’s the start of a new chapter for my business, just as moving back to Wisconsin is a new chapter in my life. Even at 63, I’m not ready to slow down. I have too much I want to do, too much I want to accomplish.
As I get started on the final third of my life (Does that sound too morbid?), I can’t claim to know what’s going to happen, but I’m excited just the same. I’m ending the year in much the same way I started it, with a great deal of gratitude for the people and things I’ve been blessed with. To paraphrase a line from my favorite movie, it really is a wonderful life.