The New York Metro area can be cruel to aging professionals in communications. That's especially since the field is continually being disrupted by new technologies. Finally I embraced that reality and, in April 2014, relocated my communications boutique to Arizona.
At the time, I had no game plan.
Was I going to retire, semi-retire, milk the enterprise for the revenue I could continue to squeeze out, or start something new? It turned out that it was the latter.
I made the pivot to marketing and advocacy communications. The best part of that shift was that I enjoyed learning new strategies and tactics. Of course, that enthusiasm made my pitching for new business more effective.
Success triggered more success. The realization came to me: I need to leave AZ. If my business is to continue to grow, I have to have in-person access to larger clients. I did the research. No, I didn't have to return to the New York Metro region. Age would still operate against me there.
After about seven months of research, I zeroed in on western Ohio, next to Pennsylvania. I knew the region from going to school and working there. It was as affordable as AZ.
At the top of the list is the routine I love. Sundays were my mindfulness group meetings. Tuesdays and Thursdays were about the fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy. Fridays were films with friends at an independent movie house. Saturdays were day tips to offbeat places like Tombstone, AZ and over-the-border to Mexico.
Next is knowing my way about Tucson. It's not a big city. But it is a city. You can get lost, which I did for a few months. Then I had the satisfaction of mastering the terrain.
And, then there are the moderate winters. Only once were there snowflakes. That lasted about 35 minutes. They dusted my windshield and then that was that. Before I left the East Coast I had given away all the weather-survival equipment such as shovels and windshield scrappers. Also, the dog will need a very heavy coat.
To ease the emotional upheaval, I am framing the cross-country journey as a kind of vacation. That's why I added on a few days to travel. But, still, leaving AZ is among the hardest decisions I have made. This part of the nation had been good to me.