Today marks exactly one year since the movers arrived at 124 Longridge Drive. Rachel and I drove out of Tallahassee the day after Memorial Day after finishing packing up 37 years worth of memories at 1207 Walton Drive. It’s been an eventful year full of surprises (good and bad), a lot of introspection, and wayfinding! When the moving truck had to back down the driveway in drive, Rachel and I closed our eyes and hoped for the best. Within 2 hours everything was in the house and boxes were everywhere. This in spite of the fact that I gave away so many things; family things to my cousin, Jill; household items to a variety of friends and co-workers; and cars full of all sorts of things to Goodwill. Of course, now that I’ve lived in the house for a year there are some regrets about things I should have taken with me, but that’s another story! In my wish for a fresh start, I may have gone a bit too far but the fact that there is no turning back is also somewhat liberating!
What have I learned in these 365 days? More than I could ever articulate here I’m afraid but I will share a few of the things that come to mind while reviewing my new strange world.
1. Keeping in touch with family and friends is the most important thing to maintain sanity.
2. Being close to children is a gift beyond description.
3. A city girl CAN learn how to survive in the country (albeit only less than 2 hours to New York City!).
4. You CAN go home again even if it’s in a bit of a different way.
5. Most critters will walk, run or fly away as you approach them. This is a very important thing to know when walking your dog in this area although I’m still very respectful of the bears!
6. Northern winters are a force to be reckoned with as is my driveway! There are strategies one can develop for survival — hiring a good snow plowing and stair shoveling service, getting the car checked out before the first snow, ordering and having delivered a large amount of firewood early, putting aside money in the budget for very large amounts of ice melt, not locking the gate because it will freeze.
7. Few people go out at night in the mountains during the winter, so restaurants that are even open in winter close VERY early. So, get in a supply of good books, take advantage of On Demand movies, and watch a lot of bad tv!
8. Spring comes late but quickly. The snow is melted and all of a sudden it’s green and lush. Local nurseries that have been all but closed down have beautiful locally grown plants of all kinds and the driveway is again usable which makes life a lot easier.
9. Home is not where you live but how you live — this has been a hard lesson and one that I am still working on.
10. I am a very lucky woman. Reconnecting with high school friends has been a very welcome surprise, having family close by means I can see them often, anticipating being a grandmother is much more fun when I don’t have to think about transportation, and visiting good friends only takes some driving.
I think a lot about these things and am feeling a bit nostalgic (is that the right word?) about the past year. A few bumps in the road but altogether it amazes me that even the difficult tasks had positive outcomes. Some of my friends and acquaintances asked what I’d do with myself in retirement. Just managing the first year of so many changes has been enough for me!