Annie Lindgren | North Forty News

Blaine first asked me to write for North Forty News during an annual dinner for the Wellington Main Street Program (WMSP), where I served as the Executive Director. I gladly accepted his suggestion, and during my last year (2019) with WMSP, those monthly articles became the favorite part of my job. I love writing. My career has been primarily in the Mental Health field and a lot of work with Nonprofits, so writing was a career change. By the end of 2019, I decided to pursue a career as a travel writer and founded Sunshine Ink LLC. In January 2020, I joined the North Forty News team as a freelance journalist.

My 2020 went about as well as most people’s 2020, and by the end of it, the pandemic canceled all my ‘other country’ trips. Instead, I had a life-changing 4-month ‘Pandemic Roadtrip’ under my wheels, and I had returned to working for a nonprofit in the mental health field. I continued doing freelance work for North Forty News and attempted to stay up with the things I hoped to do with Sunshine Ink.

At the start of 2022, I took another leap, left my full-time job with the nonprofit, and joined the North Forty News team as VP of Community Engagement. The nonprofit asked me to stay part-time as a grant writer and marketing person, which I agreed to, and I continued trying to find time for the things I hoped to do with Sunshine Ink.

Sadly, 2022 has not been off to a good start. ‘Working too much’ has taken a toll on my life. I bought a house in early 2021 that required a lot of work, and I love to travel, so I justified all the work with ‘I need the money.’ ‘Work hard, play hard’ is something I am good at, but that ‘relax, enjoy daily life, and tend to relationships’ piece is something I fail at regularly. So 2022 has been a slog of one thing after another not turning out as hoped.

Earlier this year, I fit in a month-long remote working road trip with my golden retriever Maverick to desert country. That trip went well, ‘adventuring’ is my happy place, and I regained some balance. But, on March 14, the day after I returned home, Maverick broke his leg while playing fetch in the backyard. Unfortunately, the break was too bad of a spot to repair, so now he is a 3-legged dog. CSU did tests to see if he had bone cancer, and on April 11, I learned that Maverick, who is only six years old, has bone cancer. So I have three months to a year left with my loving canine companion.

Making big decisions is hard, and as someone who lives a very independent life, I rely heavily on the messages and moments that fill my day and energy to know how best to proceed with a big decision. The answers are always there; you just have to pay attention and act. I have never been one to spend time spinning my wheels in miserable situations. Life is all about choices and adapting to changes, and life is short, with no time for dillydallying.

It has been a pleasure writing for the newspaper these past three years. I have grown so much as a writer under Blaine’s mentorship and met and shared countless amazing people’s stories. As a news reporter, I enjoyed serving my home community, Wellington. Also, I slipped in educational pieces supporting our region’s history, the mental health field, and my favorite adventure topics anytime I could. I am grateful to have been a part of a local newspaper willing to share stories like these.

My last day with North Forty News was April 22, 2022. I hope to make this the day that I finally draw the line with my problem of being ‘too busy’ and truly start moving forward with my goals for Sunshine Ink. I will continue my work for the nonprofit in the mental health field, as that part of my career path fuels a lifelong desire to help at-risk youth have the best chance at life. I have a lot of adventures planned this summer, from climbing Chimborazo in Ecuador to hopefully finishing the final 14 of Colorado’s 58 peaks above 14,000ft elevation. Meanwhile, I will spend a lot of time enjoying the final stages of life with my favorite adventure companion.

Thank you, Readers, for your support over these last three years. You have helped me grow as a writer. You might find more from me through Sunshine Ink in the future, but the only promise I can make right now is that ‘finding joy’ is my new priority. Life is too short. Cheers to making the very best of it!

 The author, Annie, and her dog Maverick, hiking in Sedona, AZ in March, 2022.

Published in North Forty News on April 22, 2022.