Lots of physical activity, as much as I want. Swimming, walking, dancing. Lots of mental activity, also as much as I want. Discussion groups about current events and about foreign policy. Conversations with people of varying political opinions. And lots of social activity, as much as I want. Dinners with new friends, outings with people I've known for years, dances with groups.
At this resort, we're all ages from 55 up. Some of us are even younger, if we live with someone who's 55. Some of us are in our 80s or even 90s. We are a community, a neighborhood. And we watch out for each other. The staff is here to serve us, their customers. They are not here to take care of us.
Yesterday I was picking up the mail and a much older woman smiled at me and started talking about the weather. Always a good starter topic, but especially since it snowed here three days ago. I smiled and listened. And the day before yesterday we were reading the "park models for sale" ads on the bulletin board. An older man said, "See anything interesting?" Then he pointed at one of the ads. "That's my place. Want to take a look? I have the key with me." So we did. We walked three blocks with the man and looked at his park model. Beautiful little place, very clean, very inexpensive. We actually considered it, even though we're not looking to buy. It was such a nice little place, and the man wanted us to buy it. He told us he had lived in it with his wife, but he was a widower now and lives with his "lady friend".
Three Sundays ago, we were walking home and came upon an older couple who'd left the church service early because the man wasn't feeling well. He thought he might be coming down with the flu so said he was going to lie down. I felt a twinge of concern, but didn't think much more about it until today. On the community bulletin board was an announcement of a "celebration of life" being held this afternoon for a man. I'm almost sure the last name was the same as the one on the sign in front of the house the couple went into that Sunday. When we went by this afternoon, a car was stopped in front of the park model, and a woman was coming down the stairs. I thought she might have dropped off a casserole for a new widow. But again, I'm not sure.
In this place, people watch out for each other. Like in a neighborhood at home where people aren't gone to work all day. Like maybe they used to, in places we lived in when we were younger, or when we lived in small towns instead of cities and suburbs.
I talked yesterday to the woman who leads my swimming class. She was using the resort's wifi when we were leaving the cafe after breakfast. I hardly recognized her with her street clothes on! I told her we were leaving next week and she said, "I will miss you, Linda. I hope you'll be back next year." I said we would.
Art and I are beginning to think about where we want to live when we get older. In the house where we raised our kids? In a smaller place closer to public transportation? In a 55-plus community or an independent living facility? Someplace else?
I want to live in a place that's a community, where we watch out for each other. So we'll be coming back to Tucson, to this winter neighborhood. For the rest of the year? Time will tell, I guess.