Why McHenry Life?

A retrospective prologue as we launch a few weeks after initially planned…

It Was August 26, 2014, a special day, or at least was hoped to be…

Today I hit what I consider to be a milestone birthday. At 45, this may well be a halfway point, roughly speaking, in my career life at least. It’s also one of those life milestones that prompts some reflective thought…what have I done, what do I want to do…sort of stuff.

Tied to that in some ways, on this special day was the hope and plan to officially launch this new website called McHenryLife.com. But when I got up this morning, I knew that wasn’t to be. We just weren’t ready, but that’s okay. Just like life in general, things often don’t go entirely to plan.

To be fair, a number of birthdays had come and gone since the idea for McHenry Life was planted. You see, we had this idea back in 2011. As so often is the case in even the most exciting, best laid plans, life happens. And as you are reading this, at some point, we have successfully hit a launch date.

The convergence though of my birthday and this website however is certainly meaningful, even though both started separately from one another on much earlier dates.

I’m not even certain of what initially sparked the idea for McHenry Life. Initially there was the idea of writing, ala reviews, about local restaurants where we had eaten. This may have come from a good or bad experience we had just had, or after struggling online to figure out a local place that offered outdoor dining. These kinds of things often spark and smolder from some tangential thought until the original source is just a distant a memory.

Fireworks over Crystal Lake, 4th of July 2012
Fireworks over Crystal Lake, 4th of July 2012

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Of course a flame and fire requires more than just a spark.

At this time, in 2011, Jill and I had been living in our new home for a little over a year. Moving down from the Madison, Wisconsin area a year before, Crystal Lake was entirely new to us. At that time, the only connection to the area was associated with the Randall Rd. exit on the interstate as being a mostly symbolic reference point on the journey from Madison to IKEA or Chicago. At that time, who knew that a whole world lived north of I-90.

Like many I imagine, we moved into an area as much because it was geographically significant at the time to other elements of our life. Jill had taken a new job and was heading into Chicago four days a week, while I was working part remotely but still going into my company’s Madison office a couple days a week.

So after a year here, we had started to explore and experience the area. We had dabbled in Chicago a little, since that is expected. But honestly, we were also quite busy still getting settled in, finding our way around our new home area. And we were okay with that. Chicago is great, don’t get me wrong, but you have to be fully committed to an entire day or a weekend to venture into Chicago. However, we also found ourselves falling into a bit of a rut, having a handful of places that we would frequent, but realizing that there was still so much here.

Combine this with a fond recollection of other places we had both lived over the years and all the places there that “we never got around to seeing,” and the sparks begin to take. We figured we weren’t alone on these, “I wish I had eaten there before…they closed, we moved, etc.” feelings.

Additionally, both of us have typically worked for and were currently working for big companies based elsewhere, often working for even bigger clients based somewhere else entirely, with little more than our homes connecting us to our communities.

Add in a desire to take what we know, web design and online marketing, and use it to connect with the community, to help others like ourselves to better explore and experience what is right here in our “own backyards,” and also hopefully help a lot of small, local businesses better market themselves and grow their businesses, and you get the makings of McHenry Life.

So while we still have our “day jobs,” we look to McHenry Life to be a little something special for us, and hopefully for you too.


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President and Founder of Identity Developments, LLC, the parent company of the McHenry Life website. My hope for McHenry Life is to create a resource and destination for the residents and businesses of McHenry County alike. A place where residents can discover new places to explore, fun events and ways to spend time, and then share those experiences with others. A place where businesses can connect with existing and potential customers, and not simply market their businesses, but share their own unique stories.