Today was Day 1 of a new beginning of the rest of my life, and here is why:

  • It was my first time back to the Chicago area since January 2014
  • I started a new career path
  • I jump-started fitness goal: I had a great 5.6-mile walk along the Fox River

I had a great day, and I am looking forward spending this week in the Chicago area!

Back to the Chicago Area

Julie, the boys and I left the Chicago area and moved back to the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2012 as part of an effort to begin a new job and a new life.  We left a fantastic bunch of friends in our neighborhood and in our town, and we continue to miss them a lot.  We tried to keep in touch, but like a lot of things in life, we got busy and lost touch with some of them.  We have made a few trips down to the our town since moving, but I have to admit that I did not make as many trips due to a hectic work schedule and other demands.As I drove south from my brother’s place in Central Wisconsin on Sunday, I watched the fields, woods and hills roll past my window.  I caught a quick shot of the fading sun as it slipped over the horizon, and I remember the number of times I had made this very drive from my brother’s to our house in Oswego, Illinois.  As each mile ticked by, I got excited to see my friends in the neighborhood.  Little did I know that I would see friends early in the morning!

New Career Path

For those of you not following me on TwitterInstagram or Facebook, you probably don’t know what I am talking about.  I left my position at the Southwest Light Rail project on Wednesday last week in order to take a new position today. For most of my career, I had worked on various railroad crossing projects for a number of clients across the western United States.  I have successfully completed projects for my clients in every western state except Washington and Montana, and I am very proud of that accomplishment.

Earlier this year, I found out that a position was opening that would get me back to what I really loved doing: working on freight railroads and focusing on railroad crossing projects.  During the application and interview process, Julie and I talked quite a bit, and at one point she looked at me and said:

“Life is too short. You need to follow your passion; you have to do that. We’ll figure out the rest.”

She was right.  I went for it, and after some patient negotiation, everything worked out as it should have.  I started my new position today in downtown Chicago, and I am excited for this new beginning!

Just remember folks, it is a small world out there; you never know who you will meet.  As I hopped on the train and plopped into my seat at 6:00 AM, a woman in a seat in front of me turned around a couple times and did a double-take.  We started talking, and it was our next-door neighbor!  It was great catching up with her, and it was a great start to the day.
My new beginning at this position was filled with orientation video conferences, but I had a huge smile on my face.  I had accomplished a goal and successfully started down a new path.  It was a baby step towards other goals.

Fitness Goal

One of the keys to my new beginning as part of Small Scale Life is to get healthy and fit.  I got back from downtown Chicago this afternoon and decided to jump start my fitness goals.  I have big goals: I am going to lose 90 pounds.  I know it is going to be a long road, but I am ready to push myself.  The time is now.  I am 42 years old and have carried this extra person on my back (actually, around my waist) long enough: it is time to get serious and get this done.

If you have been following TwitterInstagram or Facebook, you would have known that I cut my foot last week and got five stitches at the Emergency Room.  That really delayed the start of my own fitness goals since I could not swim in the pool, go for a walk or go for a bike ride.

I know a couple of guys are going to give me some heat about lifting weights to get this goal rolling, especially if I could not do cardio.  In retrospect, they are absolutely right.  However, I was in a funky place mentally last week with all of this transition going on in my life.  I just needed to concentrate on getting things done and finishing what I could.  It was really all I could do last week.

Today I went to the Montgomery Dam in Montgomery, Illinois, and I started a podcast and headed south towards Oswego along the Fox River.  The Fox River Trail really is a great paved path that parallels the Fox River for 38 miles between Algonquin and Oswego, Illinois.  Julie and I used to walk and run (yes, I did run a few years ago) along that path when we lived in Oswego for nine years.  We would walk from Oswego north to the Violet Patch Park, which is about half way between Oswego and Montgomery, cross the river and head west through the neighborhoods.

I decided that Violet Patch Park was my target.  I wanted to make it to that bridge, take some pictures and then head back to the Montgomery Dam.  It was a great walk, and one that reminded me of the times I paced Julie as she trained for her half marathons and marathon, the time I paced another neighbor as he trained for a marathon and the times that Julie and I walked the trail along the river.

A New Beginning for Your Day 1

I finally made it back to my car at the Montgomery Dam and headed back to the hotel.  My back was reminding me that I sit too much in meetings and behind a computer.  After some stretching and a hot tub soak, I was feeling pretty good.  I had started many baby steps towards my goals today.  This was a great Day 1!  This was a great new beginning for starting my Small Scale Life!

Matthew West, who was my inspiration when times were tough in Colorado this year, is absolutely right: start over and make today your Day 1.  You cannot change your past, but you can start the rest of your life. Stop wishing; take that step forward. What are you waiting for?

You cannot change your past, but you can start the rest of your life. Stop wishing; take that step forward.