Friday November 24, 2023
the next phase
This has been the latest harvest we have experienced, and although my intentions were (and always are) to put pen to paper for the fall newsletter much earlier than this, it clearly didn’t happen! So this year you are receiving a holiday newsletter!
The last wine was just barreled down a day before Thanksgiving. For the remainder of the year, I will get a bit of rest, enjoy the family, and enjoy the festivities of the holiday season. It will also be my time to take inventory, reflect on this last year, make plans for the coming vintage, and set goals for kukkula in the coming year and beyond.
Next year will likely be very eventful and hectic, as they always seem to be. It will also be a year of big change, as I have finally decided to retire from my career in the financial world, after almost 41 years at one company!
For the few of you who knew me when I started my career, you probably thought there was no way in hell that I would last 41 years at one company, let alone 41 years in the big corporate world! I certainly didn’t! I came into the business because of my curiosity with the stock market. I had a degree in economics and a mathematical brain, so from that perspective it made sense.
This may come as a shock to most, but I also was extremely shy (perhaps introverted), and I didn’t really appreciate that this career required that I put myself out there and meet people whom I didn’t know and ask them to trust me to invest their money. Seems kind of preposterous, in retrospect! I came from a working class Finnish family, and I had no idea how radically different the world I was entering was from the world in which I grew up.
What I had going for me, though, was that I discovered I’m a tenacious and intense guy, with a lot of sisu. Although I struggled for many years, and I was lucky to have an employer that was patient enough to give me latitude to grow, I figured it out, and thrived.
This has been a rewarding career from a number of perspectives. First, many of my clients have become close friends, and I look forward to staying connected in this next phase of life. Secondly, it has been a financially rewarding career, which opened opportunities to travel, build our home in Canada, and start this crazy project called kukkula.
Lastly, it has enabled me the freedom to explore life without the constraints of a 9 to 5 life. It helped nurture my innate need to be entrepreneurial. Many of my clients are successful entrepreneurs, and through their example and encouragement, I have chosen to follow my heart and pursue my desire to do something that I am passionate about. Admittedly, this is not an easy business, and maybe not one that most would choose to pursue. Yet when I filter out the stress, sleepless nights, and the capital required to build the business, there is a real sense of accomplishment and appreciation for being able to live on the land we occupy, and the enjoyment of being able to share the wine we produce from the land we farm.
Paula has been beyond accommodative with what is clearly my baby! She’s also been dripping on me to slow down, and rightfully so (for both of our sakes). My exit from my financial world will not reduce how many hours each day are consumed with work, but it will allow me to be more focused. Now that our kids are independent and pursuing the paths they have chosen, Paula and I have been traveling more, and intend to make this a priority. The jury is out for me on what an eventual retirement might look like. Time will tell, but this is a first step. One plus, the seasonality of the wine business will afford us the ability to carve out significant chunks of our time each year when we can break away. Any less than that at this point might be too much of a shock to both of our systems! Here’s to the next phase!