Now that the kids are moved out, graduated, and on their own, my wife and I have an empty nest. My friend Joanne Wilson has written about what to do with an empty nest. She and her husband leave the cold of NYC and go to LA. I have never been a big fan of cold weather despite growing up in Chicago. Locals say it makes you tough, but I detest it. In my first job with 3M, they asked us where we wanted to get a sales territory and I said, California or the South. I wound up in Chicago, and then traded here because that’s where you go to trade.
Yesterday a couple of people told me they heard I was leaving Chicago for good. That’s not true. But I can foresee a day when I am not here January through March.
Life is sort of weird. When you are single there are few restrictions. You can go anywhere. Then, you find a partner and you have to work with them to decide how to live your life. If you have kids, you have the responsibility of them. Once they are gone, it’s back to deciding with your partner what to do. Technology gives us the flexibility to be able to design our lives a lot of different ways.
My wife and I went to Newport Beach last year. It was nice. We have a lot of friends there and it was great to walk in shorts on the sand. If I could pick one place to live in the US it would probably be somewhere in California. Except I hate the cost of living and taxes. The weather is pretty amazing though. We thought about going there again this year. Instead, we had to get something out of our system. We decided to rent a place for a few weeks in Austin, Texas.
We have a fair amount of friends in Austin too. We have some people in San Antonio and Dallas that we will see for sure too. One friend of mine is working on a startup in Austin that will revolutionize education as we know it. I am anxious to get face to face with him and learn from him about what he is doing. Another friend you might know as The Big Red Car. Can’t wait to get a ride in the car to a breakfast or BBQ joint. Jeff said he cleared the border for me. We will be driving through Oklahoma.
We have heard a lot of buzz about Austin, and decided to go check it out for ourselves. One buddy of mine said we wouldn’t like it because it was Texas. We are Midwesterners, so it will be interesting to see the difference in culture. Because we are empty nesters now, we get the chance to try on different cities to see what it’s like.
I first got this idea from my friend Phil Satre. He and his wife go to a different city every year and spend a significant amount of time there. When you do that, you get to meet the people and see the city. You get to really know what it’s like. It also doesn’t limit you. You can go anywhere in the world for a few weeks, or a couple of months. Because my wife and I can work from anywhere with an internet connection, it opens up a lot of possibilities. The one advantage Austin does have is same time zone.
My wife and I are not Florida people. We have family and a lot of friends moving there. I am definitely not a boater. I don’t play tennis, but I do like to golf. We have done the Florida thing since we were married. Because of family and friends, there is certainly a pull there but going there feels like I am packing it in.
My wife is going to SXSW. I am going to my friend Moshe Tammsot’s Conclave. He organizes a “Monks of Invention“. I might head out to SXSW too for a day, but it looks so big I don’t know where to start. If there is someone in Austin I should meet, or something I should absolutely do, let me know in the comments.