Friday, March 1, 2013

Leaving Tucson: Snowbird Souvenirs

We didn't buy a thing in Tucson that we've packed in a suitcase to take home. But we have acquired several things: new habits.

When we're snowbirds, life is simpler than it is at home. We live in a smaller space, so cleaning is quicker - or at least, in my case, housekeeper free. We have a tiny lot which is taken care of by our landlord and consists mostly of raking up the palm fronds that come down when it's windy. No vegetable garden, no lawn to mow, no drains to keep clear of debris. 

When we're snowbirds, we have no community obligations. We're not home for our regularly scheduled meetings or volunteer activities. We don't even have a cat to feed! 

Freed up like this, we did some things differently for almost 60 days, and they became habits. We have decided to take them home with us. Here are our snowbird souvenirs:

1. I haven't had a latte since January 3. When I'm home I probably stop by my local espresso stand four or five days a week. Usually I'm in the car, on my way to someplace, but sometimes I'm on foot, walking to the library a block away from the espresso stand. I've been a Jason's Java customer for almost 15 years. At $3.75 for a triple tall split shot mocha with half the chocolate, that's a lot of money, and almost as many calories. Here in Tucson, where the nearest Starbucks is eight miles away, I have been fine with the coffee Art makes each morning. It's comfortable to buy a latte and chat with Jason at home, but it's not a necessity. I'm going to reevaluate my latte consumption. I will still meet my niece and friend Colleen at Starbucks every couple of months for coffee and talk, though. For sure.

2. In two months, Art and I went out for dinner five times. At home, we usually go out two or three times a week. That's expensive and also unnecessary. We can stay home to eat way more often, save a bunch of money and not a small amount of guilt at the excess.

3.  For the last two months I have gone to an aquatic exercise class three mornings a week at 8 a.m. It is a habit now and I will be doing that when we get home. It will take me ten minutes to drive to the pool at home, but I can do that. I found a deep water aerobics class that meets at a time convenient for me. 

4. Art hasn't read the newspaper in two months. He says we can cancel our subscription to the Seattle Times. He's been going to the gym three mornings a week. He says when we get home he'll continue doing that, at the gym we belong to already but haven't used often. While he's exercising he'll watch the morning news on television. It looks to me like he has lost some weight with the exercising.

5. In Tucson we didn't have a dishwasher. I actually enjoyed washing the dishes by hand and I think I will continue that when we get home. It's a nice tactile experience.

6. We learned how to line dance in Tucson.  Last week I looked for line dancing lessons at home and found them at the local senior center. I joined online and we will be continuing to line dance. I have avoided the senior center, but having spent two months with other people my age I think it will be a good place to meet people with common interests who don't work during the day. I really enjoyed the social contacts we made in Tucson and I would like to do more of that when we get home.

7. I didn't do any volunteering in Tucson and I am taking home a recommitment to do more of it. I like being useful, and two months without it was enough.

Next year we will be staying in Tucson for three months, instead of this year's two. We like the sun, the activities, and the friendships. I'd like to try a few new things next year, maybe pick up some more habits to take home as souvenirs.


22 comments:

Kathleen McCoy said...

Good for you, Linda! Those "Snowbird Souvenirs" are much more valuable than the packable variety! I'm so glad you're coming to AZ for three months next year. Maybe we can meet up for ...um..coffee, not latte -- next winter!

Retired English Teacher said...

Linda, this was so interesting to read. I loved reading about how your habits have changed while you have been snowbirds. I hear that from others who taken up the snowbird experience. I am always intrigued by the idea of going to Arizona for the winter. You really have a a positive argument for why such experiences can be so healthy for retirees.

Jim and I have experienced many of the same positive change in habits since we moved to our new home.

Enjoy your trip home!

Out on the prairie said...

Sad to leave all the fun.

Arkansas Patti said...

You really picked up some splendid habits and are smart enough to keep them in your life for they are all healthy additions. Well done.

Arizona2012 said...

Arizona will miss you. Hurry Back. This is our first year of retirement in Arizona and so I have enjoyed reading your blog.
We came from Illinois and I totally understand the simpler side of life now.
Safe Travels to you and your hubby. Cindy

DJan said...

How wonderful to have the ability to take on new habits and benefit from them year round. I will be looking forward to hearing how your souvenirs fit into your life at home. And three months next winter sounds fabulous! :-)

Linda Hoye said...

I've enjoyed reading about your Snowbird adventure and am delighted that you've discovered these, and I'm sure more, positive habits to take back home with you.

Tom Sightings said...

All good things except in my opinion, as the dishwasher in our family ... you need a dishwasher!

Olga said...

Now that is really the best way to take home some sounvenirs. I enjoy your blog because you are always about those learning experiences.

Bob Lowry said...

Your experiences are powerful proof that change is both exciting and beneficial...and it only takes 60 days to develop new habits.

Have a great time in Sedona on your way home. We hope to see you and Art in August.

Perpetua said...

What an enjoyable and productive winter you've had, Linda. Good new habits are the very best souvenirs of your stay.

Teresa Evangeline said...

It sounds like a great way to spend the winter, and new, healthy habits to boot... I like the way staying someplace like this causes one to condense their life to essentials of sorts and I, too, have learned to love washing dishes by hand. The hot water is soothing...

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Being snowbirds has given you a new perspective on your lives, and it's great that you're taking these habits home (and that you've already made arrangements to do so). (We never use our dishwasher, either.)

#1Nana said...

Sounds like it has been a very positive experience. Next year when the spouse if finally retired I hope we can do some extended travel in the winter. He might have other ideas///god forbid he missed a hunting opportunity at home! I wish we had more of those senior activities here, but it is one of the downsides to living in a rural area.

Ms Sparrow said...

I'm always impressed by how detailed you are. I agree with all of your revised habits except there's no way I would give up my daily newspaper or my dishwasher!

Out on the prairie said...

From wet to dry the change sounds fun.

Galen Pearl said...

Great habits to bring home. Are there any habits from home that you will take with you next year?

Grandmother said...

Changing our environment can change our perspective and therefore our habits. Thanks for sharing how you changed yours and good for you for developing new habits that are good for you!

Linda Reeder said...

Linda, you have the ability to get the most out of everything you do. You are a model of how to go about self-improvement without books or seminars or shrinks or angst. I learn through you.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, what wonderful souvenirs to take home with you and how creative you are to find them. Congratulations. Peace.

MerCyn said...

Sounds like you had a great two months and will extend some of the fun and positive habits at home. I love all your ideas and activities - except for the dishwasher. I'll keep mine.

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