Merging into midlife |

Merging into midlife

'Changing Lanes' includes local stories from local authors

Margaret Hair
Resident Susan Marshall and co-author Jane Jelenko sign their book, "Changing Lanes: Road Maps to Midlife Renewal." They'll be at Off the Beaten Path from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday to sign the book, which profiles life shifts from four Routt County residents.
Margaret Hair

If you go

What: Book signing with Susan Marshall and Jane Jelenko, authors of "Changing Lanes: Road Maps to Midlife Renewal"

When: 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Off the Beaten Path Bookstore on Seventh Street

Cost: Free

Call: 879-6830

— Looking back on her 30-year career in the telecommunications industry, Susan Marshall doesn’t remember considering writing as a way to spend her time.

But when company shifts pushed her to go on sabbatical, Marshall’s longtime friend, Jane Jelenko, had an idea: They should go on a journey. They should talk to people who have taken risks to do what they want to do – even if that means living on a less-comfortable income.

“A lot of people think they have golden handcuffs on, that they’re making so much money at what they do that they can’t possibly retire and maintain their lifestyle,” said Marshall, who has lived in North Routt County for about five years.

Marshall and Jelenko spent two years interviewing more than 50 people who made a dramatic shift in midlife, and compiled about half of those stories into a book, “Changing Lanes: Road Maps to Midlife Renewal.” The authors will be on hand from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore to sign copies of the compilation, which features four stories from Routt County locals.

Will Bashan, who owns Steamboat Art Company and was one of two people Marshall said she cold-called for the book, said he moved from the corporate world to the Rocky Mountains so he wouldn’t have to move anymore. After living in just about every Northeastern state in a span of 12 years, Bashan said he was looking for a stable environment to raise his children. He and his wife took over at Steamboat Art Company in fall 2003.

“We just sort of wanted to adopt a more normal life, one that was not in the corporate rat race,” Bashan said. “When you compare it to my old life, it’s wildly better.”

Also featured in “Changing Lanes” are Frani Jenkens, who went from teaching P.E. to working as a physician’s assistant; Roberta Geier, a former school administrator who went into massage therapy; and Fred Wolf, who planned ahead for his retirement to Routt County.

Marshall said getting the book published wasn’t easy, and Jelenko eventually started a small publishing company to get “Changing Lanes” into print. Of the 3,000 copies that ran in December, about half have sold.

Getting the book published hasn’t provided the break from responsibility she might have expected from retirement, but following its lessons have had an impact, Marshall said.

“I’m liking it, I’m liking it a lot,” she said. “My life is very simple now.”

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