Chase all your crazy dreams until you catch them.

I first met my wife Dawn in the summer of 2000. From the first moment I saw her on the elevator at my office I was cray cray for her. 6 weeks later we had our first date. 5 days later we talked about marriage. #WhenYouKnowYouKnow

We were young and just starting to build momentum in our careers. After college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Dawn had lived and worked in New York City and Chicago. To this country boy she seemed like Christie Brinkley in the Uptown Girl video.

Dawn and Adam in 2001 in Vermont.

At the time, I had already lived in Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Vermont, and Madison. Then, like Joanie and Chachi, we met in Milwaukee in 2000. I was still living in my first apartment after college, but I had big ambitions. The kind that don’t keep you tied to a specific geography.

Like Bill and Ted, Dawn and I talked about our excellent adventures ahead. We wondered where they might take us. Our jobs, apartments and city all felt temporary. We knew we had much more to explore.

During that exciting first year, Tim McGraw released a new album called Set This Circus Down. The first time I heard the title track I thought the song was written for us.

Here is the chorus:

“Set This Circus Down”

And we go rolling down this highway
Chasing all our crazy dreams
I’ve gone your way and you’ve gone my way
And everywhere in between
One of these days we’ll find a piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down

I loved the theme of this song. An adventurous couple was traveling the highway of life together, pursuing their crazy dreams. But they knew that someday when they had everything they were chasing, they would stop running and plant themselves somewhere wonderful.

Us on Hilton Head Island, like the chair says.

We adopted this song as the unofficial theme of our relationship in that first year. Since then we have had quite an adventure. We have lived in 4 apartments and owned 4 homes in several different states.

My career has been as successful and rewarding as I could have ever wanted. We’ve added 3 great kids along the way. Our circus got a little crazier and more fun with each new performer we added. Dawn has been the amazing wife and mother I knew she would be when I asked her to marry me under the St. Louis Arch in a thunderstorm in 2002.

This land is your land. This land is my land. This land is Badland.

Five years ago we bet on ourselves and I started my own business called The Weaponry, an advertising and idea agency. We were living in Atlanta at the time. But due to a serious health scare in our family, we decided we needed to be closer to our parents. So we moved to Milwaukee. Which is where we bought home number 4.

At the time we said that if things went well with the new business we would look for one more home in 2 or 3 years.

Just after moving into The Weaponry’s first office in Milwaukee.

The Weaponry has been very successful. (Thanks to our fun and talented people, and really great clients.) So Dawn and I began looking for our forever home (#5) two years ago.

We have an excellent Realtor named Jamie Lubner who we love. But with all of the homes we have seen over the past 2 years, we didn’t make a single offer. We have been picky because we had waited a long time for this and wanted it to be special.

The process was growing long. And time was ticking because our daughter Ava was in high school. She only had 3 years at home before she left for college, or a van down by the river.

We found this cute little waterfall, delicious grapes and tons of honeymooners in upstate New York.

Then, on the morning of June 17th, 2021, Dawn and I saw a beautiful home listed for sale in our very favorite neighborhood in town. A great subdivision set in the middle of the Wisconsin countryside. We walked in and were amazed. It was just what we were looking for. A beautiful home on 1.5 acres.

We wrote a full-price offer immediately and had it accepted the next day.

We moved in 2 weeks ago.

Our new home is just a mile from this farm.

Today, September 28th, Dawn and I celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. While 20 years of marriage may look more significant on paper, this is the year we have been thinking about since we first heard Tim McGraw’s song back in 2001.

We have finally found our piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down.

Today it feels like we are winning at life.

Key Takeaway

Envision what you want your life to look like. Start with the end in mind. Then create a plan to get there. Chase all of your crazy dreams until you catch them. And enjoy the circus, wherever your tent is set.


Here is a link to the full song

And here are the full lyrics.

“Set This Circus Down”

Sometimes this road, it just keeps winding
Round and round and back again
But you’ve always kept me smiling
Over every hill, round every bend
Baby you’re the one smiling with me when the sun comes up
I got the wheel, you got the map and that’s enough

And we go rolling down this highway
Chasing all our crazy dreams
I’ve gone your way and you’ve gone my way
And everywhere in between
One of these days we’ll find a piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down

Sometimes I lie awake just thinking
Of all the horizons we have seen
And as another day is sinking
I thank God you’re here with me
‘Cause baby you’re the one laughing with me when the sun goes down
Living on faith and holding on tight to the love we found

And we go rolling down this highway
Chasing all our crazy dreams
I’ve gone your way and you’ve gone my way
And everywhere in between
One of these days we’ll find a piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down

And set this circus down

Maybe one of these days, gonna set this circus down
Set this circus down

Writer(s): William Luther, Josh Kear

Remember, this is your life.

Newsflash! Your life is flying by you!

Your days are ticking off far faster than you realize. And if you are like most people you are not taking enough time to enjoy your success, accomplishment, and self-actualization. You are not enjoying the special people and special moments as much as you should. The worst part is that most people don’t realize this until the final credits roll on their lives.

My Wedding Day

During the 5 months that my wife Dawn and I were engaged, I talked to a lot of married couples about their wedding day experience. Time after time I heard that the day flew past in a blur. I heard from friends and relatives that they didn’t really remember much from the day because it was a sensory overload experience.

Not wanting that to happen to us, Dawn and I went into our wedding day with a plan. Throughout the day, we would stop regularly for a minute or 2, hold hands, and just look around. Like the Schuyler Sisters in Hamilton. 

We would quietly drink in the moment together. We wanted to remember who was there, and what the people and place looked like. We wanted to see the details that blur in a busy life.

Each time we hit pause that day I felt like I was taking a moment to write in my journal. It provided a quiet moment to capture my thoughts, feelings and observations.

Today, when I think back about my wedding day, I have clear memories. And most of them come from those pauses. They are in my head like photographs in an album. (And when I look at the photographs, every time I do it makes me laugh.)

I have continued to use this Wedding Day Pause technique regularly ever since. In the middle of a fun, significant or proud moment for anyone in my family I will stop and say, ‘This is your life.’ And we take a moment to place that moment in the special mental album of feelings, experiences and observation. It is like stopping to smell the roses. And remembering that smelling roses, lilacs and magnolias is life. Not a detour from it.

Remember the words of the great Ferris Beuller:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

― Ferris Bueller 1980s Philosopher & Hooky Player

So today, tomorrow and beyond, when good things happen to you, your family, friends and coworkers, remember to stop and remind people that this is their life. Grab and hold that special moment. Remember that life is good. And seek out as many of those good moments in life as you can find.

Key Takeaway

Life is a sensory overload experience. To drink in all the wow and wonder take a regular pause to simply feel, and observe the little details we often overlook. Remind yourself in that moment that this is your life. It is good. And if you are fully experiencing and remembering those special moments you are doing life right.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Today I am extra thankful for my partner of 18 years.

Your network is your net worth. Because humans offer each other greater value than anything else in the universe. You can think of your network as a series of concentric circles. The people in the outer rings are the people with whom you have the lightest connection. They are the friends of your friends. The people in your innermost circle are your greatest human connections. This space is reserved for your family and your closest friends.

But if you are lucky, you get one person to stand next to you at the very center of your network. They are your co-pilot. Your partner. Your best friend. They are the Adrian to your Rocky. Or the Rocky to your Adrian. And they got gaps. And you got gaps. But between the two of you, you ain’t got no gaps.

Since this date in 2002, my wife Dawn has stood beside me at the very center of my network. Today, we celebrate 18 years of marriage. And we have been able to accomplish, create and enjoy more together than we ever could have done alone.

The past year 6 months have been unusual, to say the least. And I hear people complain about 2020 being the worst year ever. They say 2020 is the toothpaste-and- orange juice of years. But in many ways, this has been a wonderful year for me. Because if you are locked down with the person you would most like to spend your time with, quarantining can feel like the best of times.

Over the past 6 months, Dawn and I have had unprecedented time together. I have had only one business trip. But Dawn and I have been able to load up the family truckster, and our 3 little Griswolds, and see the country together. We have traveled as far south as Savannah, Georgia, as far north as Fargo, North Dakota, And as far west as Idaho and Montana.

Johann, Dawn, Magnus, Ava and me hiking in The Badlands in July. But it wasn’t bad at all.

As my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, transitioned to remote work in March, Dawn led our family’s migration to homeschooling. She turned our house into a well-oiled education center that would have had a line around the block waiting to get in had it been open to open enrollment. And that’s the non-social-distancing distance.

Dawn secured the vital supplies necessary for our family in the new-normal, including masks, sanitizers, toilet paper and backups to everything in case things got worse. She attended to our family’s physical, psychological and emotional needs. It felt like war time, and I got to partner up with General Patton, only he was beautiful, a great cook, and knew we needed a deep freezer in the garage.

In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic fallout, the isolation, the renewed focus on racial inequities, and toxic political climate have made the stability, comfort and enjoyment of our own homes more important than ever. And I couldn’t ask for a better home environment, roommate or teammate than the one I have enjoyed for the past 18 years.

Key Takeaway

If you want to enjoy a good life surround yourself with good people. But if you want an amazing life, partner with someone who amazes you every day. Someone who makes your world better in good times and bad. In 2019 and 2020. At the end of our days the only thing that will matter is the impact we had on others. And Dawn’s impact on me could never be overstated. Thank you for this wonderful adventure Dawn Albrecht. You are my certainty in uncertain times.