Last October, I believed the world would come to an end. No, it wasn’t that long-awaited Mayan prophecy about to come true. Nor was it a premonition of a collision with a heavenly body, pestilence or even the elections that were just a month away.
By all rights, the world could have rightfully come to an end. As we all recall, the Chicago Cubs won the pennant (“…and the cattle will die, water will turn to blood, and pestilence will devastate our crops,” according to the Egyptian Enquirer, papyrus edition). That alone, we were told, will bring the end of ages.
No, it was my own exit from public service after 26 years of work in rural economic development that seemed like the end of the world, at least for me.
Surely the end of my career would be devastating not just to me or Washington State but to mankind as well. The popular saying “No one is indispensable” could not be applied to me. But as the days and months passed, the state seemed to do just fine without me and the world did not end. I was dispensable.
True, the state legislature is still battling over taxes and the budget and the new President wishes Washington would actually secede and join Canada. But as far as I can tell, none of this can be blamed on my retirement.
So, you may ask “what have I done in my retirement for the last seven months?” I could tell you all about my adrenaline-filled trip hiking and rafting on the Colorado River or seeing the geothermic wonders of Yellowstone National Park. I could also tell you all about my trip to Lake Tahoe with its picturesque peaks that offered some of the best skiing and skinny dipping in the world.
If I did, I would then simply post a few links to the YouTube videos I had seen on these scenic vistas and maybe photoshop a few pictures of me enjoying myself (not the skinny dipping one). But that would be known as an “alternative” retirement.
Instead, I have been pretty content visiting with my children, reading murder mysteries and modern romance books (who knew people wrote books about subjects other than economic development), growing a beard (in the spirit of fellow retirees Jon Stewart and David Letterman), volunteering at some great non-profits, and taking some wonderful cooking classes.
And yet, economic development still had a place in my heart and mind. That’s why I decided to dump my brain on to the website called the Maury Forum. Mauryforum.com is my way of saying you can take the man out of economic development but you can’t take economic development out of the man. Deep down, I remain concerned about growing our rural communities and providing opportunities to entrepreneurs. I simply can’t help myself. My body may be urban but my mind is rural.
The site will be devoted to providing information to economic developers and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. who want to create healthy, vibrant communities.
In addition to the occasional blogs that emanate from my wild and crazy mind about economic development, mauryforum.com will include information on:
- Recently announced grants
- Newly released reports
- Current articles
- Relevant book reviews
- Entrepreneurial assistance
Plus there will be other information that I think may be relevant to economic developers in rural and urban communities. I promise I will stay away from subjects that I know very little about like politics, religion and sex.
Bear with me given the fact that I am just getting this site started and my to- do list is long yet my tech skills are short.
No subscription is necessary at this point. Given that I am retired I will be updating information at least monthly with my blog appearing on my LinkedIn page as a reminder to entrepreneurs and practitioners that new information and resources have crossed my desk that I feel should be shared with my former friends and colleagues.
I know that you may have found comfort, knowing that I would no longer be harping about the importance of rural economies, entrepreneurship and keeping intellectual wealth in local communities. And I know that comfort has been short lived.
But remember, the world is not coming to an end. I have simply returned from the great beyond of retirement to share a bit more expertise with my colleagues and with entrepreneurs who truly are the engine that drives our economy. The world will continue to spin on its axis, just as it always has. At least until the Cubs win another pennant and I become dispensable again.