…like the amazing changeable weather in Tallahassee, the comfort of sitting and talking with old dear friends, the challenge of driving in Tallahassee, the familiarity of browsing in a bookstore for as long as you want, construction around the University Center, detours on Gaines Street, loss of parking at FSU to accommodate the football program. Here I am again with free time between meals with friends pondering the question that my friend, Kathy, asked me this morning: “So…do you think you made the right move?” I’ve been asked this question many times by people close to me and by people I’ve recently met. There is no way to definitively answer such a question for a number of reasons.
First, when I retired, everything changed, so it wasn’t just leaving Tallahassee and FSU. Second, the place I moved to — Lords Valley — and the home were already comfortable places for me because I’ve gone there since 2008. Third, when faced with a choice, you make it … take all the factors into consideration and then punt. Last, just do it and don’t look back! I think the question would be better put as “How has the move affected you?” This is interesting to think about on my first trip back to Tallahassee since the move. Reconnecting with friends has been so easy probably because we never disconnected! Email, Skype, Facebook, the phone, all keep me connected. For the most part, my answer to Kathy’s question is always — “I love being close to my children, New York City, having one house to worry about, and having options.” Had I stayed I would have continued doing things that were no longer fun and sometimes stressful. It worried me that I might get back to Tallahassee and regret not living here any longer, but that’s not the case.
I do not miss the daily stress of work, the frustration of being in education in a time when it is devalued, or the unpredictability of the weather (although this unseasonable 76 degrees is fabulous and the prematurely blossoming trees and bushes are beautiful!). While the people of Tallahassee are, in general, very nice and polite, so are the people I’ve met in Milford, Lords Valley, and Hawley. I will not “go by” my former home and regret the loss of the fruit trees or the yard where we raised three dogs, or the home where my two children grew up. It is just a house…it is not the memories nor the people who passed through my Tallahassee home over 37 years.
One thing I do have to admit is that driving down Meridian Road yesterday to visit my friend, Beth, I did feel a twinge as I passed the road to my former home and then the road to my parents’ home. I thought about the good things that happened in each of those homes and in places in between and smiled, then realized I can think of those things anytime anywhere. I don’t have to be in a specific geographic location!
So, for those of you who are retired, thinking of retiring, live alone, are considering making a move from the familiar to the less familiar, I recommend it as a way to prove how brave we all are and how adaptable we can be. Yes, some things never change, like the support system of good friends and the welcome home that I can feel anytime I want to visit Tallahassee.