10 Reasons Why I’m Excited to Finally Be in Fargo, North Dakota

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(image credit: downtown Fargo)

We’re officially Fargo residents!

And even though we are sad to leave our home in the Twin Cities, we are excited to start the next leg of our life-journey.

Over the next few months, as a part of our adventure, I’d like to invite you to join my family and I as we experience life in tropical Fargo, North Dakota. (I promise you it is nothing like the movie)

You’ll be seeing daily blog pieces about the people we meet, the new experiences we enjoy, along with everything else that is new to our family about the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Why Fargo?

In case you missed the impetus to our move, click here for the whole story.

And when you finish reading that blog piece, take a look at the ten reasons why we already love Fargo and what we’ve discovered so far.

  1. Don’t have to pay a trash removal company.

My family and I are renting, temporarily. With that, we have no additional costs to pay for trash removal. And paying a company a monthly fee to collect my garbage, to me at least, is the most ridiculous idea in the world. When you own a home, it’s a requirement to have this service, in the Twin Cities. You cannot avoid it. It’s like paying $7 for a bottle of water at a ballgame. Totally insane. Glad I won’t be paying that fee for a while.

  1. No mowing the lawn.

This is my personal favorite. Not that I don’t mind what little exercise comes along with pushing my mower to trim the grass, it’s just I can think of a hundred other things to be doing that are way more productive uses of my time. It’s like driving versus flying. Driving = zero productivity, as your focus is on the road. Flying = ultimate efficiency as flight is fast and you’re not the one operating the vehicle, which means lots of time for reading, learning, or working.

  1. Automobile license tabs are half off.

Back in 1998, the state of Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura as its governor. One of the best things that Governor Ventura did was to change how taxes were collected on vehicle license plates. Gov. Ventura instituted a flat-fee payment model for any citizen who owned a vehicle and had to buy license plates, for said car, SUV or truck. Once Governor Ventura left office, the status quo of lousy Republican and Democrat rule took over and the license plate costs to Minnesota residents were jacked up. Not so in North Dakota. My license plate costs are literally half the cost in Fargo. #BringBackJesse

  1. Economic boom.

There is more economic development happening in Fargo than ever before. There are new high schools, growing businesses, tech companies that are hiring, and droves of young families thriving. There are tech sector jobs, healthcare careers, and construction companies all providing good wages to the citizens of Fargo.

  1. There are 9 Dairy Queen locations.

I love Dairy Queen and I am definitely addicted. That said, there are nine DQ locations between Fargo and Moorhead, with seven of them located in Fargo alone. You’ll never run out of ice cream or Dilly bars when residing in Fargo.

  1. The people are awesome.

We had breakfast our first morning in Fargo, at Perkins. The server there was amazing. She told us she’d been working at Perkins since the year 2000, because working there allows her to be with her two boys. She also noticed I was spending too much time on my iPhone, while not eating my pancakes, and swiftly shamed me.

  1. State income tax is lower.

I’m not one of those entrepreneurs or business-guys who believe all taxes are bad. I don’t. Taxes are a part of life and I support that notion. However, there are states in America that have a lower tax rate, versus other states that have a higher tax rate. North Dakota is one of those states that has a lower state income tax, than Minnesota. Living in MN is expensive. Then again, I don’t live in Minnesota anymore.

  1. Traffic is a breeze.

Ever fight to get home from Minneapolis to Lakeville, at six o’clock on a Friday afternoon? Ever try to efficiently navigate highway 494, Cedar Avenue south, or highway 169, in the Twin Cities, after the work day is done? How about trying to drive through road construction season, when traveling in the Twin Cities metro? It’s bad. I’d argue worse that attempting to drive in Los Angeles or Boston. How’s the traffic in Fargo, you ask? It’s splendid, absolutely splendid, as traffic is a non-issue for the most part.

  1. College football champions four years in a row.

If you enjoy college football as much as I do, then you’ll love the Bison. The Bison are Fargo’s resident mascot of North Dakota State University, who so happened to be four-time national champions. Read more here about the awesome tradition they’ve started.

  1. The housing market is on fire.

If you happen to own a home here, let me be the first to tell you that you made a great financial decision, as you undoubtedly have some sweet equity in your home. If you’re like us, and hoping to find a home to purchase, be prepared for a challenge. In my research, you can almost build a new home for the same cost as buying an existing home. Before you settle, do your homework, and research, in order to make a solid housing choice so you too can gain some equity with your next residence.

If you’re already a resident of Fargo, what else can you think of that you love about the Fargo-Moorhead area?

What can you share about what you love about the Red River region? Tell us in the comments below.

3 Ways My Life Changed After A Near-Death Experience (And The Most Important Lessons I Learned)

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On December 23rd, 1994, I almost bled to death as the result of a horrendous skiing accident.

I was skiing with my brothers on an icy winter day, and in my feeble attempt to keep up with them, had a nasty accident that landed me in the hospital.

It was awful. I remember lying in the snow after striking what felt like a Mack truck, thinking to myself ‘what just happened?’

Then everything got really scary when I tried to get up.

As I flexed and moved my body and legs to try and stand up, I realized something was very wrong. What I didn’t know at the time is that my pelvis, parts of my hip, and my tailbone were shattered. I was bleeding internally and hemorrhaging blood, but couldn’t feel it.

When I finally got to the hospital, two days before Christmas mind you, the doctors immediately prepped me for surgery and put me under.

While the orthopedic surgeon was operating on me, he noticed a sudden drop in my blood pressure.

Twice.

It dropped to the point where they had to medically resuscitate me. I almost died.

Life is incredibly fragile.

I don’t often think about death or the frailty of life.

There’s not a reason for me to think about it. For the most part, I’m healthy and have zero concerns for my well-being.

I live life like a guy who’s in his late 30’s, heading into his 40’s. I tend to live like I’m invincible and won’t ever die. Most days, I typically live like I’m promised one more day on this earth, working desperately to squeeze in a little bit more each day.

I don’t pop pills, don’t self-medicate, and don’t take any prescription medications. As a friend of mine once said, I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t chew and don’t hang out with people who do.

But our existence is still vulnerable. You’ll die someday. I’ll die someday. Life is short and we’re not here for long.

Seeing life through a different set of lenses.

People I’ve met that have experienced a near-death experiences tend to look at life through a different set of lenses.

From their encounter, they’ve learned that life is indeed fragile and tend to live with a renewed vigor and freedom.

They are liberated. They dream. They are confident. They are grateful. Most, not all, tend to live life with a reckless abandon, where their focus is on letting go of things instead of on hanging onto them.

I envy people that live this way, don’t you?

What I learned.

I’d like to think I learned something profound from my accident.

I want to say I had an epiphany which caused me to become some all-knowing intellectual with a level of emotional intelligence that rivals that of Jesus,  Gandhi, and Tony Robbins.

But I didn’t.

I did discover some things. But it wasn’t the accident that taught me, rather the recovery afterward.

My recovery was rough. I got bad news from my orthopedist, after my surgery, and I had a choice to make. He told me I may not ever run again, and I’d have to learn how to walk. My doctor told me it would be hard. This news was pretty discouraging, considering I was an active, young guy.

But for me, it was all a matter of perspective. That’s the first thing I figured out.

My perspective changed. Perspective is a powerful thing. Perspective is the art of changing your attitude toward something. It’s choosing to make a conscious decision to live either in the negative, or live with a worldview that things could always be worse.

For me, perspective revealed that I needed to find joy in my trial and circumstance. Doing this wasn’t easy. Finding joy, and choosing to embrace this mindset, was the most gut-wrenching personal commitment I’ve ever had to make. But the alternative was way worse.

I also learned the power of goal setting. I’ve always been an intentional person who favors action over conversation, but living with purpose through goal setting is key to not wasting your life.

You can’t accomplish everything or be anything, despite what the commencement speaker told you at your college graduation ceremony. You can, however, set goals to help you achieve your passions in life.

Lastly, I learned not to give up. I could’ve thrown in the towel, early on, and ended up living in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. But I didn’t. Instead, I plowed through my physical therapy and found inspiration in accomplishing little victories.

Life is going to seem daunting at times, but there is always hope. You simply need to persevere and take action. Do not give up. Even when you fail, keep moving forward.

You need to learn to focus your energy on what you can control, get up earlier, learn to hustle, and embrace the things that make you wiser.

Change your perspective, set goals, and don’t quit.

Learn to be grateful.

Have you endured a scary situation in your own life?

Maybe you’ve had a life-threatening experience, as I did, that shocked your perspective, forcing you to be more grateful than ever before.

What was it and how did it make you more grateful for what you have?

Share in the comments below. I’d love to know how your trial made you more grateful, and if you learned the same things I did from a near-death experience.