I will not dwell too much on the reasons that brought me to find myself alone in Florence on my 50th birthday.

That part of my story is not the best part. However, I feel that I must share a bit of it as an explanation. After enjoying over 26 years of success in sales, sales management and sales training in corporate America, my company sold out to a private equity firm. I was given a choice between very early retirement or keeping my secure job and losing my retirement benefits (healthcare being the primary concern). I was given five days to decide.

Obviously I took the retirement option–only after meeting with an employment law attorney and consulting with many friends and loved ones.

If I had been six months older to the day, I could have kept my great job AND enjoyed all of my retirement benefits, including retiring on my own terms. But I was six months too young to the day, and that is why I wound up alone in Florence for my 50th.

The story will continue and it gets much better!