Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Walden Week

I find that my schedule has filled up over the years, instead of free time I now have no time. One result of "success" in my field is that I have been able to contribute "pro bono" community activities in support of non profit groups which I believe need my help.

So, now in my 6th decade of life, I find that I am running two corporations, full time, and sitting on 6 different non profit boards with different agendas. That has required me to work on remembering names and relationships which I was never particularly good at in the past.

My business is located in an historic business district in San Diego. In fact, North Park is the first business district to be developed outside of the proper downtown, located on the opposite corner of Balboa Park and initially served by the street cars of a century ago. When I selected my home and found a commercial location in the 60's, the dollar meant a lot, and prices were very low compared to today. For example, you could purchase a nice Craftsman home back then for less than $20,000, and I took advantage of that opportunity.

During the 1980's I realized that North Park was in hard times, and there were lots of commercial vacancies, and the rest of the stores were thrift shops. I discovered a State law which allowed for business districts to organize themselves and I began to walk, store to store, to see if I could get support for creating a North Park Business Improvement District, or BID.

When I was successful, I was elected president of the BID, and my civic activities began. Over the years I have been elected to serve on other boards, and I continue to do so as much as my work will allow. Currently, I am sitting on the board of directors of the North Park BID, the Lyric Opera, the Redevelopment Area PAC, the North Park Historical Society, the BID Foundation and the San Diego BID Council, where I currently sit as President. In that last position I represent 16 BIDs across the city which include 12,000 businesses.

I do not mention this to promote myself, although when I look at it it does seem excessive. I mention this because I have found that there is not any part of my schedule which is left open for me to leave town. I used to travel a lot. Taking a month off and going to Europe or the East Coast was easy. I just closed the door and drove away.

Now I have this iphone which shows me all the dates on my calendar which require me to be at some meeting or activity. This is retirement?

My father's family were woodworkers, and built Craftsman homes in Montana a hundred years ago. They had a mill and workshop in Whitehall, Montana, which today is essentially a ghost town. During the 20's they decided to build several cabins at Ennis lake, about 60 miles away, on the Madison River, in the Rockies. I grew up fishing the Madison, and I suppose I can be considered a pretty good fly fisherman and hunter.

Last week I just left. I decided that I could miss a few meetings, and told the other directors and staff that I had some "emergency business out of town" which required my attention. I got on a plane and 3 hours later I was chopping wood for the stove, drawing water from the artesian well, and fixing fence in the meadow.

Thank AT&T that I had no signal.

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