I've now almost hit the fifth month mark in my retirement relocation saga. While I sold my home and began the moving process at the end of March, I spent those first few months sleeping on couches and making housing decisions and so on.
I've been in this new retirement home since the end of August. The fall and early winter have been spent unpacking and organizing, finding out about my new area, dealing with college, figuring costs and plans and the like. In fact, I took made no Christmas visit, and have not traveled since the beginning of the summer so that I could adjust to new climate, schedule and place, and decide what kind of scheduling adjustments need to be made (I alluded to changes in travel schedules and such earlier on, but that was not followed up by research). At this point, I 'm ready to think about life in the coming years and what adjustments I'll be making.
Although I originally thought after this move I would be in "snowbird" mode, I've readjusted my thinking in that area-at least for now. I know this is that time when many of my pacific northwest friends are traveling south. I'm not ready to do that, and frankly, I don't think I am ready to stay in one place for months-that simply is not who I am. I want to be "at home" or "on the road"
Also, I am not opposed as such to cold weather. I spent most of my life living in four season locales, and at this point in time, it's simply winter, with what winter does. I've lived in the north of Germany (where it gets dark at four in the evening and you can play golf until eleven pm in the summer) so I appreciate the need of those from northern, more overcast climes to escape. The stores of Denver are true, the city as has well over 300 days of sunshine, and fifty degrees at a mile high is MUCH warmer than fifty degrees in Phoenix or Dallas. To that end, I'll be waiting to travel south at the end of March, when I will take between two weeks and a month and explore Santa Fe, visit family and old friends in Dallas, explore the hill country and hopefully visit Galveston for a few days.
Denver in the summer is hot, and enjoyable. I'll remain in Denver from may through September, and schedule short trips to Jackson Hole, Cheyenne, Steamboat springs and the like (and think about a week in North Dakota). I'll the schedule my San Francisco and environs train trip in the early fall for two weeks. Alternative of course is to plan the California trip in the summer and a gulf trip in the fall. That may be a possibility but I believe that most of my travel will be spring and fall, with a brief hibernation in the winter, and local trips in the summer.
I HAVE had to make some physical adjustments for the Denver winters, more than I had originally thought. This in no way has me second guessing myself, just making the appropriate lifestyle changes for a comfortable retirement. My primary cause of pain is an injury, not basic arthritis, and the cold makes it more difficult to move. This means that I need to exercise in short spurts, sit in a therapy pool, and do lots of seated aerobics and yoga. When my body says stop, I stop. Pushing for the burn is impossible in my case, especially in winter. Unfortunately, when my knee is in pain it hurts to have ANYTHING touching it. Since I cannot get wear shorts at this time of year, I have reverted to pulling out all those long knit skirts from my warm climate and wearing them with sweaters and fuzzy socks. It's my personal fashion statement and works for me. They work well for my inside the house or on the patio time.
My routine is always seasonal and continues to be so here in Denver. I always arise late, night owl that I am, except in the heat of summer. I am not a morning person and can only admire fellow bloggers and friends (and family) who arise at eight regularly. When my son leaves ton for school or a job, I will have to remember how to let the dogs out and then crawl back into bed. My morning time is my moving slow relaxing time. This is when I may read, peruse my laptop, sit and observe the things going by my window (the advantage of living in an urban village is a lack of boredom in the neighborhood), write in my journal and do the basic minimal things necessary to live and home. In the afternoon I sew, draw, read more intensively, study, play with the dogs, and work on business matters. After my evening, when I am in bed (as now) is when I am often my most creative, drawing patterns, making travel plans, writing or other things.
For those who have asked, I am still exploring and becoming engaged inn terms of social and community life. Since I know there are others considering such a move, I will say this: One of the gals in my woman's small group in Dallas told me that I needed to move NOW, or move to a place I knew people already or a retirement community. While I took her advise with a grain of salt, I believe she was right overall. The truth is, the older we are, the more difficult it is to make friends, unless you are in a community where everyone is new or transient. I have the advantage of having some hobbies that by nature require personal interaction and for which there are social organizations-for lack of a better way to put it. I also am by nature involved with church, and the social and voluntary situations that are part of that. For someone without those resources or who needed even more social activity, I could see that as a problem to consider when looking at options. Not a deterrent, just something worthy of a discussion.
In my case, I am happy to be home much of the time. Getting out of the house every day is not a requirement, but I have a house with a yard and a patio and dogs that require caring for. My weekly social activities consider of half day of volunteer and some on call volunteer work (part of my volunteering is helping out congregation members who are in need or ill and that varies) One day a week I allow for "day tripping:, something that I enjoy doing by myself, and.or with friends. I partake in a discussion group that meets once a week, and do my regular church activities. I also take at least one college class a semester. I take an arthritis exercise class in a heated therapy pool as movement allows, and I try to go at the same time, with the same group.
Monthly I have two quilting groups (I am desperately looking for an artists group that meets weekly rather than monthly). I attend one book group (this month it is the new John Le Carre mystery which I have not finished) and am looking for a second. I attend a monthly movie group (this month was "Philomenia") and would not mind a second group. I have not found a gourmet dining group such as was part of in Dallas and I have missed that.
The bottom line is that while I am still searching out groups for a couple interests, I am as busy as I choose to be-at least for this time of year. Spring and summer bring more gardening, festivals, events and in my case craft and artists get togethers, as well as more travel. Each week I end up leaving my house one night a week during the week and one weekend night. One and sometimes two afternoons are spent socializing or volunteering, and depending on weather and mood, one full day is spent day tripping. Add that to my Sunday church events and I am as busy as I want to be.
Tomorrow I will rise slowly, have my morning coffee by the window and slowly pack up those Christmas decorations (it's the last day of Christmas after all). I have a new, as yet unreleased kindle book to read that was free from Amazon (the advantages of Amazon Prime). While I plan some sewing, my day will be spent sketching and planning-new valentine and spring projects, my new web page and quilting blog. I need to FINALLY decide on the color of paint for two rooms and absolutely commit. I also need to finish a quilting project, do some seated yoga, and cook barbecue country ribs in the oven (it was a request).
Last but not least, tomorrow I will be watching the second disc of the movie "Once Upon A Time In America" with my son and another family member, all while refusing to tell either one (even when they ask), who is really alive at the end. If you haven't seen the movie, don't ask.
One final off topic thought, for those who have Amazon prime and stream: While I have yet to watch "House of Cards" on Netflix, the Amazon series "Alpha House" is to die for. I actually know congressmen and senators who live like this-only they're not even all of the same party.
And so it goes, this new year in retirement.