As many of you know, I have been yearning to leave Austin for quite some time. I had grown weary of the traffic and the heat and the ever-growing population.
But as much as I look forward to finally leaving Texas and start a new life in Colorado, I can't ignore all the things Austin has provided me over the past 32 years.
My final high school years spent here we're much better than my younger school days. I met so many wonderful people, some of which I'm still in contact with today and still call friends.
I got a great job with the City of Austin, which turned out to be a blessing I wouldn't fully appreciate until later when I was able to retire early at the age of 49.
I have written and published more than ten books, something I wouldn't have been able to do without the support and help of several extremely dear friends.
But, of course, the main thing I am thankful to Austin for is that it was here where I met the man of my dreams.
Steve and I met in 1991, and have been inseparable ever since. I knew in an instant that he was the one I would spend the rest of my life with.
In 2008 we finally took the plunge and were married in Canada.
Through the years, we've had laughter and tears, and have been through good and bad times, but the good outweigh the bad by a long shot!
Steve and I have purchased and sold three houses, and have filled each one with lasting memories.
We've met wonderful people, many of whom we easily call life-long friends.
As we embark on our new adventure, begin this new chapter of our lives, we do have the butterflies and the angst over the huge changes headed our way, but we know we'll be fine, and we look forward to all the wonderful new gifts life has to offer.
So, as I prepare to say farewell, I would also say, thank you, Austin, for all the gifts you've given both of us over the years.