Saturday, February 2, 2013

Week 4 Thoughts from a Snowbird

The only thing I miss is the cat. Larisa is home in Washington State with two companions. I wish she were walking on my keyboard here in Tucson.

Otherwise I am as content as it's possible for me to be. I can keep in touch with family and friends by email or Skype or phone. I prepared well enough for this trip that I can pay bills and take care of correspondence from our little park model. I did forget to bring envelopes and stamps, but they're replaceable here. Our mail is being forwarded so I can take care of business. The tax documents are arriving and I'll have plenty of time when we get home to take care of that project.

At the end of four weeks here, I am as busy as I am at home. No, busier. I've even added a little stress to my life, just like I do at home.

Here are my current snowbird thoughts.

1. There is nothing, absolutely nothing better than sunshine. We have many windows and we open the blinds first thing in the morning. Right now temps are in the 60s most days.

2. I love almost every activity I'm doing: handbells, line dancing, two-step dancing, current events discussion group, political events discussion group, Apple user group, and aquacize for an hour, three mornings a week, in an indoor pool. Once a week I leave the resort and go into Tucson for a massage. We have an ownership interest in a Massage Envy clinic in Seattle, so we get the employee rate here for massages.

3. I am making friends. When we got here we knew only Ann and Larry. We soon met their good friends Ken and Judy, and last Tuesday we went out for dinner with Ken and Judy for Mexican food. Yesterday we lingered after a discussion group for a lovely conversation with fellow participants Kris and Mark. I've had several interesting talks with our landlord Chuck. We say hello to other residents when we pass them, we wave to every car that passes by. So does everyone else.

4. I am having conversations with people who have different political views from me. I am curious as to how people think and how they form their opinions. As I listen, I see how their views came to be. Mostly. I am finding common ground with some of them. Not all. But one of my goals was to have articulate conversations with people more conservative than I. That has been one of the best parts so far. I'm still not a conservative, though.

5. One part of my stress is that I'm working on a written piece about this snowbird experience, including why almost everyone at this RV resort is a non-hispanic caucasian. I've concluded the reasons are primarily economic and cultural, and I've gotten past feeling mildly guilty at my good fortune to be here, to the point where I'm happy and grateful about it. I've only written half the article, though, and I'm in my usual spot about whether to write it so the article would be appropriate for a magazine like AARP, or whether to write it from my heart and then try to find a market for it. At the very least I want to finish the article. It would be much easier to chalk up my exploration to a learning experience and let the idea of an article fade from memory, but so far that hasn't happened.

6. Another piece of my stress is that I'm in a discussion group called Great Decisions - one of five such groups here. We have written material we read each week and then discuss. The first two topics were the euro and the situation in Egypt. Each topic has a group leader, and I foolishly signed up to lead the topic on humanitarian intervention - so I have two and a half weeks to read and prepare. I am actually interested in the topic, but I know virtually nothing about it, and I hate to lead discussions where I'm not knowledgeable and might look like an idiot. And frankly, I'm on vacation. I just don't want to work that hard. But I signed up, so I'll have to grin and bear it.

7.  My husband Art broke his rib on December 21, so he is still recovering and not as physically active as usual. So he is reading. Every day, for hours. He always does this on vacation, but it continues to be a surprise. At home he doesn't read as much because he's gone or working in the garage or the garden. Here, he reads. It makes me a little nervous. I think he has read eight books since we got here. He is not a fast reader, so that is saying a lot. I know. I need to mind my own business.

8.  There is a vendor and farmer's market every other Wednesday. We have made arrangements to set up a table and display our book next week. We have never done this before, and I am a little nervous about it. But the resort has many veterans, so I think it's appropriate to sit there with copies of our book. Even if we only have conversations, it will be interesting. Still, it's adding a little bit to my stress.

9. I have more going on in my life than I have time for. I am evaluating, as I do from time to time, what I should do less of or drop. I love that I'm being more physically active, and that I'm meeting people and having conversations. I don't even mind that I'm responsible for keeping the house clean here. I suspect the stuff I should drop has something to do with the internet. Haven't isolated it yet, though. It's probably surfing. 

10. We've decided to delay our trip home by two weeks. We'll leave the resort on February 28, spend a week in a Sedona at a timeshare, and then take a week to drive home, stopping for a couple of days to visit new friends in Las Vegas, then exploring the Owens Valley in California, staying at Napa for a couple of days to use up expiring timeshare points, then heading for Eureka and the coastal drive back home. It will probably be sunny most of the way, and by the time we get home there will be a few more hours of daylight than when we left last month.

Time to walk up to the mailbox, say hello to people I meet along the way, and watch the sunset. I am so, so lucky to be here.

22 comments:

Olga said...

I can so understand the thing about sunshine. I do not think I could do another winter in VT with the early darkness worse than the cold to me. I am convinced that was a major part of my periods of major depression. I am not as socially active as you seem to be, but we do actually have more spontaneous social activity here--people are outside and friendly. It seems at home that every thing has to be arranged.

rosaria williams said...

It seems to me you're quite busy! By the time you get back home it will be springtime and plenty of good days to be outdoors.
Yes, the picture you saw on my blog is Bandon, just north of us. If you are taking the drive up the coast, do stop and say hi. Let me know when.

Katherine Jenkins said...

I so, so wish I were in Arizona right now! My favorite place in the world is Sedona and you are not missing anything in Seattle ^_^—cold and gray. I say, write the article from you heart and I love to put it up on my blog as one of my inspirations or an interview with you! I'm doing 365 Inspirations for 2013. Let me know if you'd like to do that. My e-mail is on my blogger profile and in my contact info!

Linda Reeder said...

I am not tempted to become a snowbird, but a short stay in a warm, sunny place would be nice. Our promised sun never made it through the fog today.
You are so skilled at making the most of every opportunity. Maybe too good at it. Take a breath. Let one of your stressors go, and plan for some down time.

Teri said...

Write the article from your heart. You can always change it later to fit a certain magazine. Thought when you wrote about your "husband reading" and then you said "I should mind my own business" that is an odd thing to say - talk to him, find out if he is suffering - or is he lonely if you are so active.

MyMaracas said...

Wow. You are unbelievably busy for someone on vacation. I could use a little sunshine right now. And a road trip.

Good luck with article and the book sales!

Out on the prairie said...

I have traveled with katz, often taking them to the cabin.One trip one wouldn't knock out and drove me crazy.After that I got sitters.Go to a pet store to get around them.Glad you are having so much fun.

Jackie/Jake said...

Being here in Vegas for 2 months until Feb 18 I agree it is the sunshine. Every morning we open the blinds and we just smile to see the sunshine.
We'll be going to Sedona for 2 weeks March 9 and then start our drive back to Toronto.

DJan said...

This Friday I'll return home and will be glad for the change I've had. However, I miss my home, my husband, my friends. And my classes. I'm not surprised that you are so busy, knowing how you are, but your list really startled me. Wow, you ARE busy!

Perpetua said...

Some of your sunshine would be wonderful, Linda. It was sunny yesterday, but otherwise we've hardly seen the sun here in Wales for what feels like months. Your holiday sound very much busier than my everyday life too. You really are a glutton for punishment. :-)

Rian said...

You are something else! So busy for a vacation... but it definitely sounds like you're enjoying yourself (and the sunshine!) A vacation for me would probably be more like reading a book while sitting on the bank of a river with a fishing line and cork bobbing in the river (lazy, huh?).

Ms Sparrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynilu said...

It sounds as if you're having a great time. Glad to head it. It also sounds as if you are having new experiences, both you and the hub. That's what make it all perfect, I think, dipping toes into the "unknown." Enjoy!

Barb said...

It sounds like you are having a lovely time...go with the flow. Personally, I commit to two hours daily of being on my own whenever possible (not on the net perse, having down time), but we all have to do what works for you.

Does your hubby not make friends as quickly as you? Is he more uncomfortable when meeting new people? Perhaps is reading is ane scape from having to do that? I would try just getting him involved in one single thing, to start.

Linda Myers said...

Just to clarify, the activities I described are once a week, except for swimming. And Art does the discussion groups and the two-step dancing with me, and he exercises at the the gym where I swim.

He will usually go along with my suggestions for activities. For example, we just got back from watching pickleball and going for a longish walk.

He is quieter than I, that's true.

Bob Lowry said...

You and Art have really taken this new lifestyle to heart. Good for you! Obviously, you will have plenty to tell us when we get together in a few weeks.

Retired English Teacher said...

I barely have time to read blogs, and look at you. How do you do all you do? I am not surprised. I know that this is what keeps you being you: being busy and involved. Don't do the things that bring bad stress. Good stress is healthy. I hope along the way you are having fun! From what I read, you are. Soak up the sun.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, as you say at the end of your post, you are indeed lucky. But the wonder if that you are aware of that and so you live in gratitude, which I've found is the best place for me to be as I age.

I so admire all you do. I'm such an introvert that I mostly spend time with myself. But I've made a New Year's resolution to find two or three new friends this year. Wish me luck!

Peace.

Galen Pearl said...

Ah, vicarious sunshine! I'm so glad that you are enjoying everything you are doing. And I hear you about not enough time. I had no idea retirement would be so busy. Enjoy!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Its great that you're having such a nice time basking in the sun & friendly atmosphere of your resort. A home away from home with nice people and fun activities is never a bad thing! Can't believe how fast your time is flying by. Enjoy your last few weeks in our bright and sunny state :-)

Deb Shucka said...

Oh, LInda, you sound so happy here. And I'm so envious of the life you're living right now as I sit under gray and 40 degree skies. I love how reflective you are about everything you do, and how beautifully you write about it. Looking forward to reading your snowbird article that insists on being written.

Tom Sightings said...

I've been in Florida enjoying the sunshine for over 2 weeks; but I'm starting to get homesick. Maybe everyone isn't cut out for splitting their time between two residences. But you've got a great list of things you're doing, esp. No. 4.