coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Picking and Choosing

Some people like change and others avoid it at all costs. I am not writing this because I have an agenda to push.  I do not subscribe to a one-size-fits-all life model.  It really comes down to who you are and what you need to be happy.  I am absolutely not comfortable with change, but I seem to need it periodically. I get antsy when things remain the same for too long.  I get bored easily.  I court change knowing full well the process of changing will likely be unsettling for awhile, and may even turn out to be a mistake; but I still want the change to happen.  I cannot help myself.  I come from pioneer stock.  Every so often I feel the urge to move on and reinvent myself.  It is called “throwing caution to the wind.”   It is my forte.

Retiring was a piece of cake, except for that unfortunate reduction in discretionary income.  It has been almost a year (I retired last Halloween) and I have never regretted the decision to retire.  Not working has been a pure joy.  We have always lived a fairly simple life, and we have adjusted to a limited income.  Still, I have not ruled out getting a part time job at some point for extra money.   I do not want to, but it would be nice to have some extra money to replace the sliding glass door to the pool area.  The door sticks.  I huff and puff and swear when I struggle to open it.  Plus, I would REALLY like to get my neck done…  I am almost serious about the neck thing.  Plastic surgery is definitely not in our retirement budget, but the neck is not pretty and it is getting worse.  I am not sure I can go through the rest of my life with my current neck. 

Moving, on the other hand, has been the real kicker.   Six months into it I can report that although I am surprisingly happy to live in Florida, I am not yet on the other side of the “process” of changing.  Changing residences interstate kicked our asses and we are both exhausted.  Part of that exhaustion was caused by bad luck, specifically the long delay in buying our house once we got down here last March.  The travel trailer era was a bit mindboggling to live through; however, in retrospect I am glad to have experienced it.  We rose to the occasion, and that is always satisfying. sucked all the joy out of our initial move.  It would have been nice to feel excited about moving into a house instead of just feeling relief.  In addition, we moved from a 4-season, often cold and overcast, but devastatingly beautiful Northern blue state to a relentlessly hot, sunny, overdeveloped, and flat Southern red state.  In NYS we lived in the country amidst rolling hills and endless forest.  In Florida we live in a subdivision.  This all requires some adjusting.  I am not really complaining.  I was looking for change and these challenges certainly keep the old brain cells/sparkplugs igniting.  And I get to see my wonderful grandkids almost every day.  I cannot tell you how much I love that.  However, just selling, sorting, packing, moving from, and buying houses is a stressful process.  That was a LOT of work, for a long time.  I am tired.  I would really rather not move again until my daughter has to put me in the home, and then she can do all the heavy lifting.  I am not above faking dementia in order to get out of hard work.

There are significant cultural differences I notice whether I want to or not.  Some of the cultural norms in Florida are unfamiliar to me.  There are days when the differences are interesting and fun, and there are days when they are overwhelming and threatening.  This morning, for instance, I woke up at 5 am and got up in the dark house to look out the front window.  As you might remember from my last post looking out the window is one of my new pastimes, apparently even in the dark.  Today is garbage day. Everyone puts the garbage cans and recycling cans out on the street the night before.  Imagine my surprise to see a scruffy looking older man flying by on a bicycle down our darkened street.  He went from garbage can to garbage can, opening the lids and using a flashlight to see what he could see.   He held a big trash bag in one hand as he piloted the bike.  I saw him stuff something into his bag at the house down the street and then he drove away.  Yes, I saw a real live garbage-picker.  Things like that never happened in the hamlet we lived in up North.  The only person who came to our NYS house that early in the morning was delivering the paper.  

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