New Chapters

 As many of you know I retired last week after almost 27 years at Waukesha County. It was a bit of a shock to some, in part because I am only 61. Nevertheless I'd given it much thought and talked it through with my family and determined it was time. I wanted to get out while I am healthy and perhaps more specifically just do something different. I am lucky enough to say I've loved my work over the past 37 years. GIS and mapping has been my passion since college and I was fortunate enough to get paid to do something I loved. 

I'll be honest, while I looked forward to the date of retirement, I was not looking forward to the celebration. Like my daughter, who is more like me than not, I do not like being in the spotlight. While I've become more comfortable being in front of people in part because of my writing and its related promotion and readings, deep down I'm still an introvert with extrovert flares, as they say.

But dreading it as I did, it turned out to be a spectacular day all the way around. My GIS team did a phenomenal job with decorations and food. The tables were even set with lake maps as makeshift centerpieces. County Executive, Paul Farrow read a proclamation which nicely summed up my 27 years at the county. It was ghost written by my colleague and subsequent replacement, Kim Meinert who did a fantastic job with it. She will be missed.

I gave a short speech thanking all those past and present who made my job easier and helped me create a successful GIS program that is recognized across the state. It felt good to say thank you before I said goodbye.

After work we had another gathering in the beer garden at Minooka Park for those who I don't work with or who couldn't make the daytime gig. Much like the morning gathering I had a really great time. There were 50ish people there and the mood was light and fun. So many laughs with friends I've known for 20-30 years. I was in full-on extrovert mode and we ended up closing the place down at 9:00. A great day.

Of course, adding to all of the excitement was the fact that it was our 33rd wedding anniversary. We were able to celebrate that the following evening with my daughter and her boyfriend at Cafe Centro in Riverwest. It was phenomenal.

Retirement for me comes with great melancholy. I'll miss the people and the GIS community, but as I said, it is time for new pursuits. In many ways, our lives are like books and it is truly time for some new chapters. I have signed up for the Milwaukee Rowing Club's "Learn to Row" program in July, an experience I've always wanted to have. These are the 8 person boats like you see in the Olympics. More on that experience as it happens. 

Otherwise, I've got plenty of other ideas including, fly-fishing, volunteering at food pantries, learning to paint, curling and many others. It will be a time of great growth for me, I am hoping. One of my ongoing tasks will be this blog, which I plan to keep posting every Wednesday. I also plan to retro-post my work career - stuff that I posted to Facebook over the last few weeks outlining my GIS career. It was a winding road.

It's good to be retired, and good to be back on the blog.

Blogging off...


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