Frequently, I’m asked how I’m enjoying my new home.
My response flows.
“I’m loving it more every day.”
Perhaps I’m under the influence of the intoxicating fragrances that waft through the air. Depending upon where I stand on the property today, I might smell orange blossoms, or alyssum, or eucalyptus, or other yet to be identified scents. Each offers aromas I enjoy, and I savor those moments of fragrance.
Regularly, I’m learning something new about the plantings on the property. The former owners enjoyed the diversity found in this locale, so there’s a variety of mature plantings to enjoy. Our styles may be different, but our love of plants and being outdoors to enjoy them is something we share with those owners. We’re grateful they invested in the property. We’ve relocated and moved some things to create different spaces or zones; this visually opened the approach to the house; yet maintained almost all the species we worked with. It’s a process and we’re comfortable knowing that it will all take time. I wake up, look outdoors and say,
… the mountain casts a spell over people who live near it. When one leaves the area, the spell causes that person to never really leave, but at least continue to return.
We left the area about six weeks ago, then returned to retrieve a vehicle we’d left behind. Our conversations revealed we each felt happy to be back in town, driving the streets, seeing a few friends, enjoying the sights and having food from several favorite places.
Let there be no mistake. We know our new home, the region where we live, the town we’re part of is exactly where we are supposed to be and we’re thrilled to begin this new adventure in our life journey.
We’ve returned to locations from our past homes because of the people, but never experienced the feeling of simple happiness by just being in the area. Perhaps there is a spell on us from the mountain, or maybe it’s because we each experienced so much personal growth and deepened our spiritual lives here; made many friendships and memories. We changed living here. We’re not the same people we were when we moved here. We smile, knowing we’ll be back again.
Have you ever felt like living somewhere changed who you are?
This season finds us preoccupied with houses, selling one, acquiring another. What do these different house styles say about us?
We joined our lives together, each owning a ranch style home.
Together we sold those homes, then combined our assets to purchase the lake house. From the street it was a beautiful ranch home that morphed once you entered into a three-story home that overlooked the lake and embraced the glory of sunsets all year long. It was the house where we thought our children would come to make memories. Not so much. Instead, we made lots of memories ourselves there. It was the house with the impeccably manicured yard and beautiful plantings. We enjoyed the changes of the seasons, the wild wind off the lake, the opportunity to sail whenever we wanted, and even the sound of our winter guests who set up shacks on the lake for ice fishing.
From there we moved to the Colorado house, described as an old-style mountain home. We gave up the yard and the effort it took to maintain for more natural and rugged living. This house towered above the ground with the front prow encased in glass. Once you entered the home, you felt as though you could soar into the heavens. Your gaze always drawn into the sky. The air at this elevation was dryer and the skies clearer. All the seasons here seemed to arrive earlier than we expected, but each was a welcome change. Wildlife lived in proximity and sometimes challenged our abilities to cultivate anything green. The wind here surprised me and often prevented us for utilizing our outdoor spaces. It often caused me to ponder the ruggedness of life for the early settlers and wonder how they endured. But even more, I found myself surprised and mesmerized by how close and plentiful the stars appeared; I thought I could reach out and grab one… It was here that we would lie on the deck and watch shooting stars (a first for me).
Now we are relocating, even further west; something I never imagined. This time we move to a Mediterranean style home, in a rural location with different vegetation from anything I’ve known. Our trips these last eight years to California have introduced me to some of these plants so they don’t appear as foreign as they used to, but I know nothing of their care. Something new to learn. The daytime climate outdoors may be warmer, but the house design should keep us comfortable. The more temperate climate and house design should provide the opportunity to utilize outdoor living more—something we’ve both wanted. A dedicated art room instead of repurposing a room will be a fresh experience and the location where you may often find me. Many of the critters I’ve become accustomed to in Colorado will also live there, plus a few new ones. Our new home will allow an opportunity to absorb the new landscapes and vistas, which will thrill me. Enough space to entertain, yet enough private spaces for us to enjoy living in our comfort zone. Who knows what adventures await us there?
Change and change and change. Each house so different from the one before and each filled with pleasant thoughts. I expect the fresh change to continue to offer adventures, hope and another place for us to share our love.
I’ve been back in Colorado about a month now. After a few days, I adjusted to the time differences, the altitude, the night stars and different lifestyles. Remaining were the routine things around the house that needed attention, civic responsibilities and reconnecting with friends on this side of the Atlantic. It looks like it might take us the rest of the year to connect with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while.
While in Ireland, I established a “more” regular writing routine than I had previously practiced. For me, that meant at least three or four dedicated times of writing, or writing related activities per week. It seems like I fell out of step with those practices quickly after landing back in the states. My first goal is to return my Irish writing routine.
I’m okay with you checking in to see my progress. That’s accountability.
The tulips are gone. The weather turned a corner and I shed my daily sweater layer. We witnessed community clean-up days; people pruned their shrubs, bushes and trees; or painted their house fronts. The sound of birds fills the air, the trees are greening, roses fill walkways, everything is in bloom or soon ready to break forth. Tour bus traffic has increased on the roads since when we first arrived. Ireland has readied itself for the tourist season, just as we prepared to pack up and leave. It is a different place than when we arrived.
Red Roses of Tralee
Yellow Roses or Tralee
We’ve enjoyed two months in County Kerry, and enjoyed the people we’ve met, gotten to know and hope to maintain relationships with.
The current stage is of goodbyes with the question, “when will we see you again?” The answer is in God’s hands.
Friends from home are asking, when you return?
Life activities on both sides of the Atlantic are calling.
Goodbyes are never easy as they pull on heart strings.
We leave with many memories.
A piece of my heart remains here and a piece of my heart is calling me home.
If you were to ask what my thoughts are, Bittersweet is the answer.
I recently finished reading “The Second Half of your Life” by Jill Shaw Ruddock.
I resonate with the term “Second Half” instead of “old” or “retired.”
This book covers much information I’ve previously read, available to the woman who reaches those menopausal years, yet Jill Ruddock nicely pulled it all together in one place. Being an American, I enjoyed reading perspectives from “the other side of the pond,” even though I’m currently “on that side.” The core issues remain the same.
I enjoyed the humor found in the different use of vocabulary.
I appreciated her reference to those of us who are “baby boomers” being the “golden generation.” She stated we have defined every age of our lives simply because of how many of us there are; and expects as a group we will redefine what “old” means.
I like that thought. I have no interest in the idea of trying to be younger than my current age, but certainly won’t sit down and wait to die. This is my “second life” and I’m enjoying life. For me, that means life is to be lived; to be creative; to be full of passion and meaning.
Last week I spent a morning with a group of women trying to get a Women’s Resource Center off the ground here in Tralee, Ireland. The room was filled with energy while women shared their vision and passion to create something in the community to benefit many. Some of these women were in their “second half” living a passionate life.
It was my last day at work. I had looked forward to this day with anticipation, yet it did not feel ‘real’ to me. A delicious cake had been baked in honor of this, my last day. There were meetings with both my immediate department co-workers and peers from other areas on campus. Everyone was pleasant, gracious and offered genuine good wishes for my future. My plans were to be picked up from work; go home and finish packing up the kitchen; doctor’s appointment in the morning; spend the night with friends; and the next morning head out on our cross-country move. Even with all those plans, it still felt like ‘just another day’ and I could not understand why! At the end of the day Tom arrived to help me carry things out of my office. Our car was nowhere to be seen. Instead he directed me to where a limo was parked. I was shocked. Tom reminded me I previously said, “I’ve never ridden in a limo.” I was a little surprised, but figured we would just take a limo ride. After the door opened and a car full of my friends yelled “SURPRISE” I was speechless. Even thinking of that afternoon leaves my eyes moist. It was an amazing time! We shared great appetizers from the Black Sheep restaurant with Champaign, stories, laughter and memories. My retirement felt ‘real’ for the first time in the limo with my friends. …and we made even more memories together. Every one was returned to their car. We went home and I completed packing up the kitchen. The limo ride with friends created a wonderful transitional highlight to mark the beginning of my retirement. That ride celebrating with friends made my retirement ‘real’ to me. That afternoon ride also taught me the truth about limos. Riding in a limo is not the big deal nor is just for important people; it is who you ride in the limo with and what you share that make it a big deal! Now when I see a limo, I wonder what and how the people inside are celebrating. It is friends who make life ‘real’! To my friends – again, thank you for the memories!