Rule # 97: NEVER live in Florida!
I hate Florida. The bugs, the heat and tourist. To me the entire state is scrub pines, sweat and hurricanes. In fact I have said recently that I hoped that the new Trump boarder wall would use the Florida- Georgia line as its starting point. I’ve told all my kids I would NEVER, EVER move to Florida.
Then why the hell are we moving to St Petersburg this June?
Yes, the obvious answer of becoming clinically insane has not been ruled out. But, the motivation starts with lots more than the move, its starts with embracing change.
In May 2008 Bobbi and I launched Signature Captive Solutions. In the 9 years since we have many adventures and developed strong partnerships with people like Halls. Today as we sell our companies (Blackmoor, SFB, Patriot and Preferred) we do so knowing that our 40+ colleagues are the key to our success, and without their efforts and commitment we are nothing. The right People are everything.
We choose this time to sell because our resources could not keep up with our growth- we needed a bigger park to play. We choose these people because they want to build rather than cut, and would give our employees better benefits at lower costs- Acrisure Holdings was the right company. Being in this industry for +35 yrs this is the first company I’ve met that is as concerned with its people as much as their bottom-line.
This change allowed Bobbi and I to the luxury of picking where we want to live- after much reflection we chose St Petersburg.
But why the hell Florida, you ask?
Bobbi’s Mom and Dad love it there and her Mom is there now most of the time, Matthew just moved there and Collin is starting College there. So, the important element of FAMILY was going to be present. Being close to her Mom was one of the criteria that we set up when making a decision.
We looked at lots of places- Lake Norman, Cincinnati, Atlanta and finding a great high school for Abby was essential – we found one that she loves, the Cantebury school which is a faith based school with a strong Arts and Science programs. It offers small classes and lots of individual teaching- its the right fit. Having Abby have a great high school experience was a critical part of the decision.
We have built a strong network of friends we don’t want to lose. Buying a 7000+ sf house, on the bay/ dock, with a great pool in a great vacation spot seemed like enough of a lure to welcome our friends and family to stay with us. “Living our lives like we are on vacation” became a goal. We want to build new friendships but not lose the great ones we have. So, we found a house that would be as welcoming to our friends as it is to us. We hope to have the opportunity to build great adventures with dear friends adding us to their vacation plans. And of course Rachel, Andrew, Ashleigh and Hailey will be regular VIPs to our home- we want to make it easy for them to be there often. ( Hailey think Disney World!)
The final decision came down to comfort level. We knew that staying in Pennsylvania was the easy, safe choice- and that the sale of the business gave me the opportunity not to work. But choosing easy has never been our style, its just not who we are- we live a “reality show life”, that is sometimes a little “Survivor” and sometimes a little “Kardashians” but never, never dull. Deciding to move to a new state, without friends in town and taking on new challenges with an exciting great company would push us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes your life needs a kick start . Facing the sloped end of my 50’s scared the crap out of me, I want to live my life as a 38 year old not a 78 year old. So we chose hard, risky and exciting- lets hope it is the road less traveled, that will be all the difference.
So, here I sit planning my apology to my old college friend Jeff “Florida” Wisor whom I once told that Florida was the arm pit of the country. I am filling out my Publix store card application thinking of exactly how do I admit I was so wrong to so many people. How does one offer an apology to an entire State?
Yes, I still hate the humid hot summers and will always hate the cockroaches even if they name them cute things like palmetto bugs. But I do have to admit that this is both the most scary and exciting thing I have ever done, and at 57 I feel that I am raging against the night. I plan to be working very hard, enjoying every blessing this world has given me and building even stronger friendships.
The future is Bright especially in the Sunshine State.
( I still hate Florida State…Go PSU)