April 26, 2014

Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent my whole life moving…even owning a house only gave me a 10-year break! And here I am again….sorting for Courage Center; filling dumpsters; rolling my cart full of books to Friends of the Library almost daily; dealing with the usual separation anxiety; cost to move; fear of the unknown; and the emotions of saying goodbye to friends and to a lifestyle I love.

Every day I remind myself: I battled hard and earned myself an additional twelve years “after the fall” but the repercussions of it have returned to haunt me-just as I should have expected.

And today, I am living with the constant pain and finally, the realization that my mind is still willing, but the body is not. Physically, I no longer can do-at least in the same way- what I have spent the last twenty years doing; and Creative Events as an entity must come to an end.

When I returned to work after the fall, my entire retirement account had been depleted –not only by the recessions during the Bush years after 9-11, but the enormous medical bills not covered by my insurance. In fact I still owed another $70,000. It took until this year to be ENTIRELY debt-free.
I wish I could call it a victory but the physical recovery was only temporary and I simply cannot afford the Minneapolis healthcare system- nor the bumbling misdiagnoses I’ve suffered through since Memorial Day weekend in 2002 when I fell.

So it is what it is, but it is not gloom and doom by any means. Last year, in desperation, I re-discovered the Mayo Clinic of my youth and once again was reminded of their excellence at reasonable costs! So far, out-of-pocket expenses for three specialists, eleven diagnostic tests (and NOT ONE unnecessary MRI!) treatments for both the shoulder and hands resulted in out-of-pocket costs of $65. But, I need to live closer to Rochester in order to return to the fold and make them my primary care doctors.

Nevertheless I still have residual pain, and the thyroid issue Allina discovered in January and continues to track is worrisome. I’m due for a six month checkup/test/biopsies in July/August…and with my lease at the Churchill up June 30, it is time to rethink.

Nevertheless, less expensive, more convenient medical care, family, and more reasonable living expenses (by 25-50% right now) probably would not have been enough to catch my attention.

No, the draw is the DMCC, the expansion of Mayo, the resulting expansion of Rochester itself and the advanced creative city-making and community engagement opportunities.

Once upon a time, I studied city-planning at the U; once upon a time I chose to remain in the world of travel, then performance improvement incentives including travel –instead of utilizing my city-planning skills. It was a good life, and when I left the corporate world and Creative Events was born, I slowly but surely have increased my interest and participation with the community around me – a luxury that was not in cards during my corporate life!

From early days of Taste of the NFL, Taste of the Nation, the Mississippi Mile in the 90s and early in this century the rebuilding of the Central Riverfront, I slowly but surely, returned to my professional “roots”.

In the past two years, that “city-planning” gene has blossomed again. I have added MRP, a bit of time with “Above the Falls”, a little planning with Downtown East, and continue to participate in CACS not only for the river, but for Plan It/Talk It Hennepin, the revise of the Nicollet Mall, the redesign of Washington Avenue and a little “doodling” with ideas for gateways to the river at Hennepin and Chicago Avenues.

I’ve come full circle-back to the interests of my youth and with my river and CAC project experience, perhaps I have something to share and give back to the city of my roots as I continue to search for that “third career”
In this latest transition time, I’ve learned I can adjust, adapt, and survive the loss of “old friends” here…some have died; some have moved; some have merely faded away for one reason or another. But Florence Rossman, an old RJC friend is waiting in Rochester; JJ, one of peers dating back to BI days is standing by with offers to help, visit, and the use of her guest bedroom as a Minneapolis home base when I need it– and of course, I hope I stay on the invite list for the “PIC Girls” annual holiday get-together!

Along with all that, my very first corporate client in that second career of Creative Events has remained a presence in my life ever since and assures me she LOVES Rochester and looks forward to coming to visit. And of course, siblings and that ever-growing brood of Mom’s “great-greats” – what more could I ask for?!!

And so, I’m off-hopefully by mid June after a final farewell here as part of “Northern Lights”.

With all the details of ending this life of almost 50 years AWAY from Rochester, I’ve spent little time really thinking about what’s next.

But I remind myself every day that in those bleak days “after the fall” I had the time to read, think and reflect. Out of that came the recognition of a changing event world in Europe – one that was built on engagement, interaction, improved adult learning principles, and the need for collaboration. As a pioneer in those applications, I helped reinvent our industry here, made so many new friends and great thinkers, and along the way, won a few awards and recognition.…so, maybe some time to think and reflect as I make this transition will reveal more new opportunities waiting for me just an hour or so away!

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