Since I left my work life and retired on Friday, I thought I would put together some of my random thoughts of how I got to where I am in my life. It is rather interesting to think about how I have ended up finishing my career at age 56 and moving to Costa Rica to continue the next chapter.
I was never one who thought about what I was going to do when I “grew up”. I had a vague idea that I might be a lawyer but I never knew what that meant. Rather than planning my life, I tended to let it just happen. I was very young when I first got married, had two sons, got divorced, and went to college. I remember showing up at the financial aid office at the University of Wyoming, a child on each hip, and telling them that I was here to go to school and that I had no money. A wonderful financial aid officer just looked at me and said that we needed to figure this out. He got me into school and I ended up majoring in accounting because I knew that I could get a job to support my kids. I worked about 30 hours a week and took a full load of classes and finished in 3 1/2 years. Luckily, it turned out that I had a real talent for number crunching and administration and so I had a successful career in that field.
I ended up working in higher education because that was the only real option in Laramie, Wyoming in the late 1970’s. I took a job at the University of Wyoming Library as an accounting technician and the rest is history. I have worked in many different places – all either higher education or non-profit companies – and I enjoyed it for the most part. However, I always was a bit of a rebel and my real talent was in managing change. Status quo just didn’t do much for me and I enjoyed going into a new place, looking at how things were done and fixing those things that weren’t working. By definition, change management requires that you move around a lot since once change is effected there is nothing more to do and boredom sets in :-) So I moved around a lot.
I started my career at the University of Wyoming and ended it at the University of Idaho. What is very interesting to me is that these are such similar institutions, particularly in size and location. They are both in small towns with the institution itself the primary employer. The most interesting similarity however is that they are both the basis of the only politically liberal mindset in the state. Idaho is the most conservative place I have ever lived, perhaps the most conservative state in the country – although I suppose that it would be hard to outdo Texas in that regard. It is not bad or good – just interesting to me. At any rate, it seems as if I started and ended in almost the same place.
So now it is on to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. I figure that if nothing goes terribly wrong health wise, Tom and I will have at least twenty or so years living in this amazing place. No more number crunching, no more stressing about personnel issues, no more stressing about institutional finances. Dang – why didn’t I do this earlier!!!!