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.