Bouncing is Hard

Wi am a writeroke up this morning with an insatiable urge to write! Haven’t felt this way in a longgg time! Thoughts are swarming like a bee hive. Thoughts about retirement, options (i.e., what to do with my time), noise, routine/ruts, relationships, etc, etc. Blog title is indicative of my minds activity this morning. But why today?

Last night I meditated for the first time in months. Two days ago I reduced one of my medications by half. cut a pllYesterday I took a very strenuous muscle building class that sucked out some of the stored fat.  Moved back home. Began taking Vitamin B12 in hopes of restoring my memory cells. Any or all of these things could have triggered this mental energy. But… why ask why? Because, all of my thoughts are connected but each idea deserves its own space.

Speaking of space…. I’m trying to find a creative space in which to work similar to when I used to write at our condo in Ocean City. When looking back at previous blogs, it’s easy to point out the ones written at the beach, because they were so fluent and more importantly…. they were interesting. Makes me want to build a “she shed”, which is one of the latest trends. It’s akin to a “man cave”, but softer, lighter, cleaner, and smells better.

But I digress and considering this mornings’ state of mind with ideas popping, I suspect I will have to continuously pull myself back from my beehive mind. I even find myself editing as I write which is a major no-no­­­­­­­ for writers.

dad deathBouncing began when Dad died and escalated with semi-retirement. Psychiatrists always consider the relationship between childhood life events and ones’ development. Since our childhoods revolve around our parents or other caregivers, it follows that losing a parent is a traumatic event. It’s also interesting that the type of relationship one has with a caregiver doesn’t matter…. their loss still affects us.

Since Dad was my rock and the last parent to “transition”, my immediate experience was a feeling of release. Because, not only was he my rock but my tether. Like a hotair balloon ride… I was able to float off into the world and wow did I float. First stop was Dubai where I taught for a year followed by a four-year sojourn in San Diego to take my dream job that turned into a nightmare which I’m finally ready to talk about in another blog.

Dubai was never a dream. Was not on my radar and I barely knew anything about it. As part of my untethering, I was looking for an opportunity to work in a country where Spanish was the primary language. So, I posted my resume on an education website, and up popped the United Arab Emirates, Ras al Khaimah (aka UAE, RAK, which is like a suburb of Dubai). So, without any other offers, and lots of encouragement from Hubby who had also recently been untethered…. off we went.

San Diego resulted from a surprising rejection. While doing volunteer work at a business development office, I learned about a paid opportunity that completely matched my background and interest. Having been told that I was a shoe-in for the job, I submitted my resume but didn’t even get a call to interview. Not that I am egotistical, but…. I know what I know and I knew I was the best candidate so I was flabbergasted when they hired someone else.

Recognizing how much I wanted that job made me realize that I was ready to work plusnew job my ego was significantly bruised. So I had to “show them” and myself that I could get an even better job. I launched on a deliberate search for what I assumed would be my last paid employment. Won’t go into the details of the job search, suffice to say that I got hired in San Diego.

Funny thing is that Hubby and I previously took two separate trips down south in search of a place to retire on/near the water; in an urban setting; with good weather year-round; walkable; purchase price below $300k; and, with a low cost of living. After two visits to the Carolinas (Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Asheville), Savannah, GA, Charlotte, and Orlando) we decided that what we wanted, did not exist and gave up our quest. Shockingly, our dream was fulfilled in San Diego… except for the part about the cost of living.

The last 4 glorious years were spent between the Washington DC area (home) and onBouncing

San Diego’s Coronado Island “where the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….” As I sit at our dining room table (home) amongst boxes to be unpacked from our latest bounce across country, I am reflecting on the difficulty of bouncing as one gets older. Like most of the things done in my early years… everything is more difficult now. But that’s another story.

Stay Tuned

Life is an Unknown

Snowbird 2Every so often, hubby and I move from San Diego to Alexandria, VA and back again. We are reverse snowbirds, because we usually go east during winter. That sounds crazy, but we want to be with the family for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Plus, the oldest G’daughter has asked us in a threatening way “you will be back for the holidays… won’t you?

The most amazing thing about life is the unknown. We don’t know what will happen next year or next month or in the next minute. How could I have not been consciously aware of that! Here I am busy planning for the unknown? Huh… that doesn’t make sense!

So, I’m stymied and in limbo surrounded by packing boxes for our pilgrimage back East. Friends ask if we are coming back to San Diego next year and like a nincomunknown

poop I answer that I don’t know. Then I remind myself that next year is an unknown. Therefore, I am justified in saying that I don’t know so I don’t have to feel stupid because I don’t have an answer.

But I can talk about what “I want to happen next year”. I want to come back to San Diego at a time that is convenient and stay for as long as I want. A “convenient” time is when there is a place available at a reasonable price overlooking some piece of the San Diego Bay near the friends that we have accumulated over the last four years. Wow…. That’s quite a wish list and that’s why it’s so difficult to answer the question not only for others but for ourselves.

We have actually found Paradise and there is a whole island of people who say the same thing literally every day. No-to-low crime; constant sunshine (except for the periodic days when we wait for the “marine layer” to burn off; average year-round temps of 70 degrees; all the essentials (googobs of restaurants; 2 hardware stores; 2 live theaters; live Coronado heartmusic on the Bay every weekend; 1 movie theater; yoga and exercise studios galore including beach yoga, etc. etc. Our neighbors have put together a potluck with games every Wednesday and Saturday night. So, between our community activities and island activities… our dance card is full. And the icing is that everything is within a 1-mile radius, which means you don’t need a car.

So why on earth would we want to move back East!!! The obvious answer is that family trumps everything! Our kids and G’kids live back East. Plus, as strange as it may sound, I miss the changing seasons, which add a rhythm to life. As Summer nears an end, you begin to feel the change in the air as temperatures cool and leaves change colors. When Winter nears its end, you begin to think about Spring and warmer temperatures. Then as Spring is ending you begin planning for Summer and the cycle repeats.Family

Recently, a friend told me that the trouble with year-round sunshine is that you don’t get a chance to rest. You run from one activity to another and exhaust yourself. But the biggest downsides to living in San Diego are high rent/mortgage; noise from our largest neighbor… Naval Air Station; and everyday sounds from urban living. We get truck noise, jet plane noise, helicopters, and dogs  yapping.

Note: I am reading a blog by a couple that sold everything; bought a catamaran; and, are now cruising on the Erie Canal for a year. This is dangerous reading for me because I might start dreaming that it would be a really cool thing to do next!!!

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how life unfolds.

Stay tuned

Too Many Options

DoorsResearchers have shown (my favorite phrase) that too many options lead to the “paradox of choice”. The New York Times refers to it as “The Paralyzing Problem of Too Many Choices”. If the choices are six or less, then one can figure it out. But when choices exceed six,  we tend to talk away. For example, when you go into a grocery store to purchase a tube of toothpaste, you may be confronted with 10 different choices. Oy Vey… which one to choose? Do you want whiter teeth, or stronger teeth, or fluoride, or minty breath, and the choices go on and on and on. At some point (around 6) people just walk away without making a decision!Where to live decision chart 3

Our current dilemma is deciding where to live… to snowbird or not to snowbird. To be around our grandchildren or not; to be near old friends or not; to live urban or suburban; to experience four seasons or two.  Of course, these choices are not mutually exclusive, but it is hard to choose because I want to have my cake and eat it too (especially now that I’m on Weight Watchers.)

So, Clay and I have finally reached a middle-of-the road decision. We will move back home, but pack our furnishings in storage for the likely event that we will return to San Diego. If we don’t return to SD then we will have the storage company sell our goods. Whew… that’s a load off our minds.

Now what should we pack and leave in SD and what should we take?

Stay tuned………..

 

 

 

 

I Am Starring in the Truman Show

As I power-walk down the street, I observe perfection. Perfectly manicured yards. Perfectly clean streets. Perfect weather. Perfectly behaved children. No two houses the same and many of them architectural jewels. Life moves at a slow pace and what they call traffic is laughable.  The people are southern-friendly. Everyone owns a bike and uses it regularly.  As Garrison Keillor would say it’s a town where  “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Naturally, it was just proclaimed as having one of the top best school systems in the US.

Everything is so sweet and simple that it is jarring. There is so little crime that all the police have to do is give out parking tickets and chastise residents for going without bike helmets. Housing is in such high demand that rentals are gone within 2 hours of being published in the local paper. Kids roam freely throughout the community and like Cheers…. everyone knows your name. It feels fantastical. I keep waiting for someone to pull back the curtain and show some man pulling strings like the Wizard of Oz.

Waiting to wake up from this dream. In the meantime… I will enjoy life in Coronado, California.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sands of Time

sands of timeI never had time for anything. No time to shop. No time for pampering. No time for housecleaning. No time for anything except work. But now everything is different. Since retiring, I have an endless supply of time like millions of grains of sand on the beach.

I have time to read the entire newspaper… if I want. I have time to linger over a cup of coffee… if I want. Just the other day, I walked a lady to her destination instead of giving her directions, because…  I had the time.

It’s as if I’m on an endless vacation. Now I understand why retired people move at such a leisurely pace, because they have time. No schedules to meet… no crises…no todo lists.. no more politics… no more… no more… no more. I don’t care “what you do”,  I no longer take a few seconds to decide if you are worthy of my precious time before moving on to others. I now know that everyone is worthy and everyone has a story if only I take time to listen.

I’ve always said one either has time or money, but not both … unless you’re rich. Not being rich, I’ve had time and I’ve had “comfortable” money, but never both at the same time. So this is a strange, new feeling. It’s like getting used to a new pair of shoes. I’m walking around in them, and they don’t hurt, they don’t pinch, and they feel like the right size, but they still don’t feel quite right.

Stay tuned…

New Yorker vs Washingtonian

washington monumentThere are all kinds of preconceived notions associated with the term “New Yorker”…. loud, boisterous, obnoxious, unfriendly, etc. But, I’ve just found out that Washingtonians (as in DC) also have their own attitudes. As a Washingtonian, I was unaware that I have some distinct characteristics that are common among folk who grow up in DC, MD, and VA (aka DMV).

Aside from the fact that we Washingtonians are all important, well educated, and brag about working 60 hour weeks, we are also rule breakers or makers. We “create” our own parking spaces when a lot is full. If traffic is backed up, we drive down the emergency lane. When there is a backup of traffic entering the freeway, we pass all the cars in line and bulldoze our way into the front of the line. We don’t honk as much as New Yorker’s, but we do know where the horn is.

But now that I’m living San Diego, I recognized a trait that I was totally unaware of…. jaywalking. Pedestrians in DC believe traffic lights are only for automobiles. Therefore, they totally ignore traffic lights and cross whenever and wherever they want while blocking intersections, and daring anyone to hit them.

A pedestrian in San Diego will stand on a corner and wait for the light to change even if there is no traffic for miles around. Last week I was on a meet-up walk with 12 ladies on Coronado Island early on a Saturday morning.

There was barely any auto traffic on the island, but every time we came to an intersection with a red traffic light, all 12 of us stopped and waited even though there was no traffic in sight! THIS DROVE ME CRAZY. As I questioned them about this, one lady suggested that I relax, because life here is slower.

I then had another opportunity to observe my Washingtonian behavior when we went to a Starbucks for water. As usual, there was a line of people waiting to place coffee orders, but all we wanted was water. One lady who went into the store with me was patiently waiting in line. I explained to her that we did not have to wait because we could pick up our water from the cooler and take it to cash register. Also, because Washingtonians don’t do lines, because we are too busy, too important, and like to make our own rules.

Oh well…. Maybe I can learn to slow down… NOT

Sunburned in Coronado

I got sunburned while in a spinning class. How can that possibly be!?!… Class was held outdoors on 3rd floor rooftop patio (See picture below). I almost didn’t go because it had been a longgg day at work and all I really wanted was to pick up a baked chicken,  open up a bottle of wine and chillax. But, I had been putting the spinning class off for 3 weeks. So, I decided to pull a Nike and “just do it”.

Like all experiences here on Coronado Island  (BTW… it’s not really an island), I continue to be amazed.

Full of Fear

Fear is a powerful motivator. It motivates me to keep leaping from one tall building to another. For if I stay still too long, I may rust-up. I’ve been called brave, courageous, and inspiring, but what I really am is…. afraid. Afraid I’ll run out of time to do all the things I want. Afraid to stop exercising my brain for fear the Big A will catch me. Afraid I won’t accomplish what I was sent here to do. My biggest fear is that I’ll spend all this time on this earth and my presence will not have made a difference.

So now you know what really drove me to leave my home and my husband to cross the country to a new job. It was to follow my passion before my time runs out and the Big A catches up with me. For the first time in many years, I have stopped chasing the dollar and begun chasing my dreams. I am on my way to making a difference. I am helping people plant their dreams and watch their businesses grow. I have found that which I was supposed to do. After I fulfill my passion (if that’s possible), I will probably still be afraid, but then I can make small steps instead of leaping tall buildings.

No… I’m not brave, courageous, or inspiring…. I’m just Afraid.

Fearless in Coronado

Helmet camera

If it didn’t look so weird, I would walk around wearing a helmet camera to capture this pristine and overly friendly world here on Coronado Island. Today, my next door neighbor came over and introduced herself. As I walked by the pool, three people said hello and introduced themselves. Why are they being so friendly to me?

What kind of a world do we live in where I question friendliness. Maybe it’s just because I come from DC, where strangers are not at all friendly. I hope my DC experience is uncommon and the Coronado experience is more the norm, but I don’t think so.

Later in the day… I was taken aback by children who smiled at me and said hello as they biked by. It was then I realized that I had learned not to interact with unknown children, for fear the parents would think I was a pervert. Many children are taught not to talk to strangers, and that’s not a bad rule, but there has to be a line.  Do we want our children to live their lives in fear like many of us do?

Here it is normal to see children riding their bikes alone and biking to school on their own. The parents do not fear that someone will snatch their children. Maybe it’s a California thing? (Or maybe it’s because there are only 2 ways on and off the island.)

The smiles of those children and the “hellos” from my new neighbors   made me hopeful that the U.S. might not self-destruct. That it’s possible for us to find our way to a more peaceful and fearless lifestyle.

Stay tuned.

I’m Starring in the Truman Show

hotel del coronadoAs I power-walk down the street, I observe perfection. Perfectly manicured yards. Perfectly clean streets. Perfect weather. Perfectly behaved children. No two houses the same and many of them architectural jewels. Life moves at a slow pace and what they call traffic is laughable.  The people are southern-friendly. Everyone owns a bike and uses it regularly.  As Garrison Keillor would say it’s a town where  “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Naturally, it was just proclaimed as having one of the top best school systems in the US.

Everything is so sweet and simple that it is jarring. There is so little crime that all the police have to do is give out parking tickets and chastise residents for going without bike helmets. Housing is in such high demand that rentals are gone within 2 hours of being published in the local paper. Kids roam freely throughout the community and like Cheers…. everyone knows your name. It feels fantastical. I keep looking for someone to pull back the curtain and let me out into the “real world” like in the Truman Show.

truman show

Waiting to wake up from this dream. In the meantime… I will enjoy life in Coronado, California.

Stay tuned.